Pope’s arrival in U.S. kicks off series of ‘firsts’

Pope Francis' cap flies off his head as he deplanes in Havana, Cuba, Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015. The pope began his 10-day trip to Cuba and the United States, embarking on his first trip to the onetime Cold War foes after helping to nudge forward their historic rapprochement.

From the moment Pope Francis arrives today — it’ll kick off a series of firsts:

  1. The 78-year-old’s first-ever trip to the U-S.
  2. To be personally welcomed at Andrews Air Force Base by President Obama, a gesture so rare, this president has only done it once before.
  3. On Wednesday, Francis makes Father Junipero Serra — an 18th century missionary — a saint… the first canonization on American soil.
  4. Thursday, he becomes the first pope to address a joint session of Congress.

In New York Friday, Francis speaks to the U-N, visits Ground Zero and holds mass at Madison Square Garden, punctuating a star-studded afternoon including performances by Harry Connick Jr., Gloria Estefan, and Jennifer Hudson.

Then to the City of Brotherly Love, speaking at Independence Mall from the original lectern Abraham Lincoln used to deliver the Gettysburg Address.

Like the enormous crowds that have embraced Francis around the globe, more than a million people are expected to flock to Philadelphia.

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