President Barack Obama and Pope Francis took a walk through the White House colonnade Wednesday after delivering their respective speeches during the arrival ceremony.

President Obama & Pope Francis

During the state arrival ceremony this morning on the South Lawn of the White House, Obama officially welcomed Pope Francis to the United States.

“Holy Father, on behalf of Michelle and myself, welcome to the White House,” Obama said. “I should explain that our backyard is not typically this crowded, but the size and spirit of today’s gathering is just a small reflection of the deep devotion of some 70 million American Catholics. It reflects, as well, the way that your message of love and hope has inspired so many people across our nation and around the world. So on behalf of the American people, it is my great honor and privilege to welcome you to the United States of America.”

“Today, we mark many firsts,” Obama added. “Your Holiness, you have been celebrated as the first Pope from the Americas. This is your first visit to the United States. And you are also the first pontiff to share an encyclical through a Twitter account.”

When the Pope stood up to thank Obama and the United States for his welcome, he shared his own history as an immigrant and expressed his hope to hear from America’s immigrant families during his visit.

“I am deeply grateful for your welcome in the name of all Americans,” Pope Francis said. As the son of an immigrant family, I am happy to be a guest in this country, which was largely built by such families. I look forward to these days of encounter and dialogue, in which I hope to listen to, and  share, many of the hopes and dreams of the American people.

Tomorrow, the Pope will address a joint meeting of Congress and will later meet with those served by Catholic Charities. Later on Thursday, Pope Francis will make his way to New York for a two-day visit. He will wrap up his Papal visit to America in Philadelphia.

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