WASHINGTON - Several D.C. neighborhoods are preparing to have their lives temporarily disrupted next week because of Pope Francis’ visit.
A giant banner welcoming the pope now hangs at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. And while work on the massive altar continues, even more activity is going on behind closed doors. Monsignor Walter Rossi says there have been plenty of details to iron out, but where Pope Francis would stay was never a question.
"The Vatican Embassy is the pope's house in whatever country he's in, so it makes sense to stay in your own house,” said Rossi.
Those who have been inside the embassy say it’s probably more posh than the pope’s simple two-room apartment in Rome. Meanwhile, nearby residents are getting ready to welcome Pope Francis to the neighborhood.
"It's going to be wonderful. We love this pope, but so does everybody else," said homeowner Amanda Deloram.
Deloram says she is putting up with the crowds, barricades and road closings because it goes with the territory when you live around the corner from a temporary papal residence.
“The buzz is you should hunker down, grocery shop ahead of time, sort of like Snowmageddon,” Deloram said.
Across town near the Basilica where Pope Francis will celebrate Mass, residents in Northeast woke up Wednesday morning to find their neighborhood covered in fences.
"At first we were curious why the fences were up. When I realized that the pope was coming, I suppose it's a necessary measure,” said resident Kenneth House.
An interesting historical twist: Even though the Vatican established an office in Washington back in 1893, the United States and Vatican City didn’t establish formal diplomatic relations until 1984 during the Reagan administration.
Important links and information:
Click here for the full list of road closures and detours during the Papal visit
Maps of road closures and alternate routes:
Click here for information for riders using Metro during the Papal visit
HERE'S THE POPE'S COMPLETE D.C. SCHEDULE:
Tuesday, September 22, 2015:
- Pope Francis will begin his pastoral visit to the United States with his arrival at Andrews Air Force Base in the afternoon.
Wednesday, September 23, 2015:
- Welcoming ceremony at the White House followed by a private meeting with President Obama.
- Parade around the White House Ellipse and along the National Mall
- Midday prayer with the bishops of the United States at the Cathedral of Saint Matthew the Apostle.
- Mass in the afternoon on the east portico of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and the University Mall at The Catholic University of America. During the Mass, the pope will canonize Blessed Junipero Serra.
Thursday, September 24, 2015:
- Address joint meeting of the U.S. Congress in the morning.
- Visit St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in D.C. and meet with several clients of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington in late morning.
- Blessing and brief remarks to the clients gathered at lunchtime for the St. Maria Meals Program of the Catholic Charities for the Archdiocese of Washington.
- Depart for New York City from Andrews Air Force Base.