The wait is finally over.
Pope Francis arrives in the United States this afternoon from Cuba at around 4 p.m. In an unusual move, President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama will greet him at Joint Base Andrews.
Washington, D.C., has encouraged telecommuting for many today, tomorrow and Thursday, and some schools in the District have closed at least during a portion of the visit.
The flight from Santiago de Cuba to Washington, D.C., lasts approximately 2 hours and 41 minutes and covers 1,306 miles.
As far as the public schedule has indicated, the pope’s docket in the United States is light today — only the arrival at Andrews before he heads to the nunciature, where he is staying.
Here’s his full schedule from today, which began with Mass in Santiago de Cuba at the Shrine of Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre:
Sept. 22 (El Cobre, Santiago de Cuba, Washington DC)
8 a.m. Mass in the Minor Basilica of the Shrine of Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre. Homily by pope.
11 a.m. Meeting with families in the Cathedral of Our Lady of Assumption in Santiago de Cuba. Speech by pope. Blessing of the city from the outside of the cathedral.
12:15 p.m. Farewell ceremony at Santiago de Cuba’s International Airport
12:30 p.m. Departure for Washington, United States
4 p.m. Arrival at Andrews Air Force Base. Official welcome.
Remember to pray for Pope Francis as he wraps up his journey to Cuba and heads to the U.S.
On a personal note, I am heading to the Capitol shortly to pick up media credentialing for Pope Francis’ visit to Congress. Will have updates throughout the day on social media.
Gretchen R. Crowe is editor of OSV Newsweekly. Follow her on Twitter @GretchenOSV.