House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, gestures during a news conference in this file photo. Boehner said Feb. 5 that Pope Francis had accepted an invitation to address a joint session of Congress Sept. 24 during his visit to the United States, a trip including New York and concluding in Philadelphia. (CNS photo/Jonathan Ernst, Reuters)

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner announced Pope Francis will address a joint session of Congress on Sept. 24 when he visits the United States in the fall.

The Vatican has not confirmed the speech will take place. But in January the pope confirmed he would visit Washington, D.C., and New York City in addition to Philadelphia on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 26-27, to close out the World Meeting of Families congress in the city that week.

He said he intended to perform the canonization ceremony for Blessed Junipero Serra during a visit to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington.


In a Twitter post today, Feb. 5, Boehner said Pope Francis will visit the Capitol on Thursday, Sept. 24 and “become first (pope) to address a joint meeting of Congress.”

Boehner, a Catholic and Republican from Ohio, said in a statement called the visit “historic,” and he was “truly grateful that Pope Francis has accepted our invitation.”

“In a time of global upheaval,” the statement read, “the Holy Father’s message of compassion and human dignity has moved people of all faiths and backgrounds. His teachings, prayers, and very example bring us back to the blessings of simple things and our obligations to one another.

“We look forward to warmly welcoming Pope Francis to our Capitol and hearing his address on behalf of the American people.”