Pope Francis has thrilled the faithful and praised the president on his first morning of official events in Washington, D.C., the start of the pontiff's three-city tour of the United States. Mana Rabiee has more.
For the faithful who'd been waiting for hours, the emergence of Pope Francis shortly before 9am, was the thrill of a lifetime. Under a sunny sky, on the first day of Fall, the pontiff and his followers revelled in this, his first morning in Washington, DC. From his temporary residence at the Apostolic Nunciature the Pope was then taken - in typically modest style - to the White House where thousands, led by the President and Mrs Obama, waited to greet him. And after the official welcoming ceremony, both leaders addressed the significance of the visit. (SOUNDBITE) U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA SAYING: "I believe the excitement around your visit must be attributed not only to your role as pope, but to your unique qualities as a person." (SOUNDBITE) POPE FRANCIS SAYING: "I look forward to this day of encounter and dialogue in which I hope to listen to and share many of the hopes and dreams of the American people." But there was official business to discuss as well, and the two men spent private time inside the White House. On the agenda? the resumption of diplomatic ties between Washington and Cuba, mediated largely by the pope. Francis and Obama also see eye-to-eye on other issues like climate change although they disagree over abortion and gay marriage. For the crowds waiting outside however, official business was much less important than the chance to glimpse the pontiff...and he happily obliged, riding his Popemobile around the Ellipse next to the White House....and bringing joy to the thousands who'd been waiting for this moment.