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  • October 6, 1979 - Pope John Paul II: Pope John Paul arrives at 1:43 p.m. in an open-topped limousine. He smiled and waved at onlookers on Pennsylvania Avenue as he was driven through the northwest gate. The Pope greeted President Jimmy Carter, First Lady Rosalynn Carter, and Vice President and Mrs. Mondale under the red-carpeted North Portico, and kissed 11 year-old Amy Carter. Inside, Carter and the Pope held a private meeting in the Oval Office for one hour and then emerged before 6,000 people gathered on the South Lawn. Carter said, in Polish, “Niech bedzie bog Pochwalony” (May God be praised). The Pope responded, “It gives me great joy to be the first Pope in history to come to the capital of this nation, and I thank almighty God for this blessing.” They then walked up the south side steps into the Blue Room and then ascended to the second floor and came out to wave on the Truman Balcony. After delivering a papal blessing from the Truman Balcony the Pope descended to the South Lawn to mingle and to shake hands with the crowd for 20 minutes. The Pope left about 5:00 p.m.
  • April 16, 2008 - Pope Benedict XVI: Pope Benedict arrived at the White House on his 81st birthday. At the arrival ceremony on the South Lawn, soprano Kathleen Battle sang a version of “The Lord’s Prayer” before about 13,500 guests. The Pope received a 21-gun salute and the U.S. Marine Band played “Inno e Marcia Pontificale” (the national anthem of the Holy See) and “The Star Spangled Banner.” The Pope and President George W. Bush both spoke briefly and then were accompanied by First Lady Laura Bush as they walked up the west steps to the balcony next to the Blue Room, where the Pope spread his arms and received cheers. Inside the White House, the president offered the Pope cake to mark the pontiff’s birthday before they went into the Oval Office for a private meeting.
  • September 23 - Pope Francis I: In September 2015, Pope Francis embarked on a six-day tour of the United States, visiting Washington, D.C., New York City, and Philadelphia. His welcome in Washington, D.C. has been President Obama’s largest State Arrival Ceremony during his presidency. On Tuesday, September 22, at 4:00 p.m., Pope Francis landed as Joint Base Andrews in Maryland where he was welcomed by the First Family. The next day, September 23, Pope Francis was welcomed at the White House for a State Arrival Ceremony on the South Lawn. Afterward, the Pope met with President Obama in the Oval Office. On September 24, he addressed a joint session of Congress before leaving Washington for New York.