This time tomorrow Pope Francis will arrive in Washington, D.C. and make his first papal visit to the United States. The pope’s five-day, three-city visit to the United States is jam-packed with prayer services, masses, meetings with government officials — and a visit to the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility in Philadelphia.
This may seem like an odd addition to an already heavy schedule, especially when there are countless pressing issues for the pope to address while here — from global warming and economic inequality to international diplomacy and the refugee crisis. But for this pope, a scheduled visit with inmates and their family members is neither new nor surprising. As archbishop of Buenos Aires, Pope Francis was known for his outreach to AIDS patients, prison inmates and residents of the city’s slums. During his first Holy Week as pope, he held a private mass with inmates at a juvenile detention center in Rome; in 2014 he did the same, washing the feet of inmates on Holy Thursday. This past summer in Bolivia, Pope Francis visited an overcrowded, violent prison rife with corruption and called for rehabilitation and re-entry services for its inmates.
By: Cara H. Drinan 09/21/2015