The young mayor of Rhode Island's smallest city, James Diossa, will travel to Washington D.C. this week as Pope Francis arrives in the U.S. Diossa was invited to the country's capital by President Barack Obama and the First Lady. Diossa will be part of the Pope's arrival ceremony Wednesday morning.
"It is an honor to be invited by the President to welcome Pope Francis to the United States at the White House," said Mayor James Diossa. "As a practicing Catholic, this will be an amazing opportunity to reflect on our community of Central Falls with the spiritual leader of our generation. "
In a somewhat parallel arc, Diossa is the first Latino mayor of Central Falls. Pope Francis is the world's first Latino pontiff.
In addition to Diossa, dozens more Rhode Islanders are expected to travel to the capital to see the holy leader. The Diocese of Providence, led by Bishop Thomas Tobin, is organizing a pilgrimage for the state's faithful, and participating parishes. Tobin is one of roughly 300 bishops scheduled to meet with Pope Francis Wednesday.
Students from area colleges, including the Catholic Providence College, and Salve Regina University plan to see the Pope when he makes his way to Philadelphia.
The Rhode Island Catholic reports some 400 local people have signed up for the trek to Washington.
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