On the one-year anniversary of his election, Pope Francis was invited by House Speaker John Boehner to address a joint session of U.S. Congress.
Boehner announced that he had sent a formal and open invitation to the Vatican in a statement Thursday. If Pope Francis accepts, he would be the first head of the Catholic Church to address a joint session of Congress.
“It is my honour as Speaker, and on behalf of the bipartisan leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, to extend to you as head of state of the Holy See an open invitation to appear before and address a Joint Meeting of the two houses of Congress,” Boehner wrote in the letter.
Multiple reports in January said Pope Francis intended to visit the U.S. in 2015. President Barack Obama will meet with the Pope at the Vatican for the first time on March 27, as part of a four-day trip to Europe.
In a statement, Boehner commended Francis for tirelessly calling “for the protection of the most vulnerable among us — the ailing, the disadvantaged, the unemployed, the impoverished, the unborn — has awakened hearts on every continent.”
Here’s Boehner’s full letter to the Pope:
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