Rhode Island’s Catholic Bishop, Thomas Tobin, is one of about 300 bishops gathered in Washington D.C. Wednesday for the Papal visit. The bishops will join the holy leader in prayer, then take part in Mass at the Catholic University of America.
Tobin says the city and nation are abuzz with excitement over the Pope’s arrival.
“So many people at the airport said, oh you must be going down to see Pope Francis, and that’s so exciting, and I wish I could be there, and please say a little prayer for me,” said Tobin. “We must have heard that several times, at the airport, and even on the airplane, and even when we arrived here at the hotel.”
Thousands are expected to turn out in the nation's capital, including many Rhode Islanders hoping to catch a glimpse of the pontiff. Central Falls Mayor James Diossa will participate in a White House ceremony welcoming the pope, at the invitation of President Barack Obama.
The pope will deliver an address to the gathered bishops. Pope Francis has proven to be a challenging Catholic leader, with a relatively progressive stance on social issues; though he is by no means a progressive.
Bishop Tobin has taken fairly conservative stances on a number of issues, but says he is eager to hear what the pope has to say.
“Whether one agrees with him on every issue or every position is not terribly important but the fact is he’s energizing people, and getting people involved in the conversation,” said Tobin. “And that’s a good thing.”
Pope Francis will meet with the President and address Congress during his time in Washington. He will spend several days in Washington, before traveling to New York City and Philadelphia.
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