Pope to address UN and Congress during US visit

(UN Photo / Eskinder Debebe)U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during his May 9 audience with Pope Francis at the Vatican. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, has welcomed the pending visit to U.N. Headquarters by Pope Francis, scheduled for September 25 in which the family will figure strongly for the pontiff.

Ban said in a March 18 statement, "The Secretary-General welcomes the visit of Pope Francis as an important part of a historic year in which the United Nations marks its 70th anniversary."

He noted it is a year in which the members of the United Nations will take major decisions about sustainable development, climate change and the future peace and well-being of humankind."

During the visit, the Pope will address the U.N. General Assembly, hold meetings with Ban and the President of the General Assembly, as well as participate in a town hall gathering with United Nations staff.

Ban's said, "The Secretary-General is confident that His Holiness Pope Francis' visit will inspire the international community to redouble its efforts to achieve human dignity for all through ensuring greater social justice, tolerance and understanding among all of the world's peoples."

While in the United States in September, Francis will also address a joint session of U.S. Congress in Washington.

In Philadelphia Pope Francis will attend the World Meeting of Families around Sept. 26, which he has chosen as the primary cause of his journey.

Like his predecessors, Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, Francis believes that strengthening family life is essential - not just for the Catholic Church but for society as a whole, Christopher White wrote in the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper.

He noted that during his recent visit to the Philippines, Francis reminded those in attendance that "Every threat to the family is a threat to society itself."

"The Pope believes it is through building strong and healthy families that we will find solutions to many of our problems - from poverty and education to reaching those on the margins of society," White wrote.

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