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Pope Francis enters U.S. in historic first time visit (PHOTOS)

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The pontiff meets Mr. and Madam President then forgoes a limo ride

The day has finally arrived! Pope Francis' Shepherd One touched down at Joint Base Andrews! The pontiff was greeted by U.S. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at the Air Force base along with a crowd consisting of Vice President Joe Biden, an Air Force Major General, an ambassador, bishops, monsignors and a large crowd chanting "We love Francis, yes we do" in English and "Holy Father, bless your children" in Spanish. Outside the terminal people shouted "Ho, Ho, Hey, Hey, Welcome to the USA."

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Highlights

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA (Catholic Online) - USA Today reported Pope Francis' schedule is so strict that his plane, aptly named Shepherd One, circled over North Carolina for a while before landing 10 minutes early.

The Washington Post reported a large crowd waited to greet Pope Francis upon his arrival. The list includes several politicians and their families, President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, Malia and Sasha Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, the U.S. ambassador to the Holy See and the archbishop of Washington.

 The pontiff greeted the President and first lady before accepting flowers from a young girl and stepping into a small black Fiat.

Rather than be chauffeured around in a classic limousine, the pontiff decided to ride in the humble vehicle before rolling down the windows and peered out at the crowd. Rolling down the window was a blatant display that his disregard for security protocol has followed him to America.

Pope Francis is expected to address the nation when he speaks to a joint meeting of Congress on Thursday and again when he speaks at the opening of the United Nations General Assembly on Friday.

Bishop Christopher Coyne of Burlington, Vt. said, "That's the first reason he's coming, to attend the meeting. His first intention was to come here for pastoral reasons."

Will Pope Francis' visit help remedy the U.S. Catholic Church crisis? Will he focus on the refugee crisis?

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Deacon Keith Fournier Hi readers, it seems you use Catholic Online a lot; that's great! It's a little awkward to ask, but we need your help. If you have already donated, we sincerely thank you. We're not salespeople, but we depend on donations averaging $14.76 and fewer than 1% of readers give. If you donate just $5.00, the price of your coffee, Catholic Online School could keep thriving. Thank you. Help Now >

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