By ANDREW NELSON, Staff Writer | Published September 22, 2015
ATLANTA–It’s never happened before: the leader of the Catholic Church standing in the well of the U.S. House of Representatives addressing the country’s political leaders.
Anyone wishing to watch Pope Francis’ historic address to Congress on Thursday, Sept. 24, is invited to a watch party hosted by Catholic Charities Atlanta.
The speech is part of his six-day visit to the United States, which concludes at the World Meeting of Families. The outdoor papal Mass in Philadelphia on Sunday, Sept. 27, is expected to attract more than a million people.
The Atlanta bishops will be in Washington, D.C., with their fellow American bishops meeting with the pope on Wednesday, Sept. 23. Atlanta area parishes, campus ministries and schools have organized trips to Philadelphia to attend the closing Mass and perform days of service.
Catholic Charities Atlanta is organizing the gathering to hear Pope Francis address Congress. It will be held at the Chancery of the Atlanta Archdiocese, 2401 Lake Park Drive, SE, Smyrna. Doors open at 9 a.m. with the speech scheduled for 9:20 a.m.
The charitable organization holds a monthly drive to benefit its clients in need. Donations of MARTA Breeze cards and backpacks with school supplies will be accepted at the gathering.
Also on Thursday evening, a panel of Catholic theologians and a political scientist at Emory University will discuss Pope Francis’ speech. A re-screening of the pope’s morning address and the panel discussion are free and open to the public. Registration is requested, however. Contact http://www.aquinas.emory.edu/news-and-events/index.html. There will be a voluntary collection to help the Catholic Student Union at Emory University. The 7 p.m. event is taking place at the Rollins School of Public Health, 1518 Clifton Road, Atlanta.
Transfiguration Church, 1815 Blackwell Road, Marietta, will be having two nights of events focused on parents seeing a video livestream of presentations from the World Meeting of Families. The event kicks off on Wednesday, Sept. 23, at 7 p.m. and continues on Thursday, Sept. 24, also at 7 p.m. There will be refreshments and discussion to follow each night. Organizers invited participants to learn more at http://www.strongcatholicfamilies.org .
Also, at St. Joseph Church, 87 Lacy St., Marietta, Marist Hall will be open to see the pope at 5 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 26. He’s scheduled to travel through New York City’s Central Park at that time and then celebrate Mass in Madison Square Garden.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has a website that outlines the pope’s visit to Washington, New York City and Philadelphia, with prayers for each day of the pope’s visit. It will also have a video livestream of the visit.