Today, Gamma and I were at the White House to welcome His Holiness Pope Francis. Although I have issues with some of his views, I have to admit, I was very excited for this particular Pope. Rather than some of the previous emphasis on what I conidered “petty dogma” he seems to embrace the broader view of Catholicism and of his role as a guide and father.
I came to the Church through an amazing and very forward-thinking nun. As a result, I believe very strongly in the social justice responsibility of the Church. Under Pope Francis, this is the first time I have heard that same commitment from the Vatican – words that ask us to rededicate ourselves to those who are in need, to our planet, and to each other. As such, I was thrilled to be able to attend. 🙂
I’ll admit, when the young man in front of me, who was a part of a group of amputees, stood up and yelled “Viva Papa,” and the crowd cheered, I teared up a little.
And, at the end of the whole ceremony, when another man yelled, “We love you, Pope Francis!” and the crowd roared its approval, I cried.
The ARRIVAL CEREMONY – A Brief History
Today’s arrival ceremony maintains many of its original precepts dating back to the early days of the Republic. Yet the program has evolved along with our Nation. During the Truman administration, the visitng Chiefs of State and Heads of Government would be met at Washington National Airport with an honor guard. The visitor would review the honor guard and President Truman would give remarks of welcome followed by the visitor’s remarks. The President and his guests would then proceed to their vehicles and drive to Washington with a motorcade that would be met with an escort of marching troops and bands.
For President Eisenhower’s administration, the air terminal was changed to Andrews Air Force Base, but the tradition for the parade remained. The ceremony site was the West Grounds of the Washington Monument, and later the Ellipse.
President Kennedy’s administration brought the arrival ceremony to the South Lawn of the White House. The welcoming ceremony on the South Lawn provides a beautiful site for a warm and dignified welcome for the foreign visitor.
Image below is from the Washington Post