Thousands of people from around the world flocked to Washington, New York and Philadelphia to see Pope Francis during his historic visit to the United States.
D.C. residents and tourists explained what they like most about the pope and also named some of the issues they want him to touch upon during his U.S. tour.
“I came to see him because I love him so much and I wanted to be where he is,” a tourist said. “What I want him to tell Congress is to help the refugees from Syria, to do something about that issue, and also the racism and the homelessness in America. Charity begins at home. They need to do something about the homeless people here.”
A D.C. resident commended the pope for opening the eyes of bishops.
“His liberal views. He’s making a difference,” she said when asked what she likes most about Pope Francis. “He’s opening eyes within the conservative – within the bishops that work very closely with him, so it’s just a different refreshing perspective.”
A tourist told PJ Media that coming to D.C. was a “calling from God.” He received tickets to the pope’s speech before Congress from his representative’s office.
“The pope, I think, embodies what it really means to be a Christian in today’s society, which is if you think about it all the leaders that we have sometimes get upset with Pope Francis because of his issues on either global warming or whether it be sanctity of life – but Pope Francis is willing to overlook those things and really just get to the heart of what it means to be a Christian, and it’s something I appreciate as somebody who feels often conflicted about how to live out his faith in society,” he said.
During his White House visit, Pope Francis said, “Mr. President, I find it encouraging that you are proposing an initiative for reducing air pollution. Accepting the urgency, it seems clear to me also that climate change is a problem which can no longer be left to our future generation.”
A D.C. resident who no longer practices Catholicism called Pope Francis a “really cool pope” and “humanitarian” who’s “relatable.”
“He really preaches love and inclusive love, that’s probably what’s most important to me. I’m actually not a practicing Catholic anymore yet I think he’s teaching such a universal message of love,” she said.
Others referred to Pope Francis as the “modern pope” and “the pope for the poor.”