WASHINGTON - The countdown is on to Pope Francis’ visit to the nation’s capital. He will be in Washington D.C. from September 22-24 and all of the events scheduled for him will mean tons of security, street closures and, of course, traffic delays.
Following a meeting at the White House with President Barack Obama Wednesday morning, Pope Francis will head out in his Popemobile for a parade around the Ellipse.
The Pope will reportedly be riding in a Jeep Wrangler with a glass enclosed roof providing a great chance for those who want to see the pope, but don’t have tickets.
The parade starts at 11 a.m. Wednesday, but security gates will open at 4 a.m. and close at 10 a.m., at which point people are in or out. Crowds are expected to flood the National Mall for the event and drivers can expect road closures and traffic delays as well as bus route detours.
A giant screen near the Washington Monument will provide a video feed of the pope's events, including Wednesday's mass at the Basilica.
On Thursday, after the Pontiff addresses a joint session of Congress, he will head to Catholic Charities and St. Patrick's Church in Northwest D.C.
“Pope Francis is coming here straight from Capitol Hill,” said Erik Salmi, the Director of Communications with Catholic Charities in D.C. “He's going to address some of the most powerful leaders in the world, and then he's going to come visit some of the most vulnerable citizens in D.C.”
Pope Francis is a known advocate for the poor -- just one of the reasons he's so popular.
“I think first of all, he's a good kind man, and he talks about the poor more than a lot of guys have done,” one D.C. native told FOX 5.
After meeting about 250 people facing challenges like poverty, disabilities and immigration issues at St. Patrick’s, Pope Francis will be at a lunch for the homeless outside Catholic Charities.
“At that point, it will be up to him, but we think something really special is going to happen,” said Salmi.
Streets around the National Mall will be closed from 9 p.m. Tuesday, September 22 through noon on Wednesday for the parade. Portions of 34th and Fulton streets in Northwest around the Vatican Embassy will also be closed during the pope's visit.
More information on Pope Francis’ visit to D.C. here: