Pope Francis will visit the U.S. Capitol and speak there on Sept. 24 as part of his trip to the United State, House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) announced Thursday.
Boehner noted that Francis will become the first pope to make the visit, which promises to be a historic and well-attended appearance.
The pope is also scheduled to visit Philadelphia for the World Conference on Families and New York to stop by the United Nations.
Boehner made the announcement Thursday at his weekly news conference.
In a separate written statement, Boehner said: "It is my great privilege to announce that His Holiness Pope Francis will visit the United States Capitol on Thursday, September 24, 2015. On that day, he will become the first leader of the Holy See to address a joint meeting of Congress. It will be a historic visit, and we are truly grateful that Pope Francis has accepted our invitation.
“In a time of global upheaval, the Holy Father’s message of compassion and human dignity has moved people of all faiths and backgrounds. His teachings, prayers, and very example bring us back to the blessings of simple things and our obligations to one another. We look forward to warmly welcoming Pope Francis to our Capitol and hearing his address on behalf of the American people.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) -- who, like Boehner, is Catholic -- said in a statement that she is "honored and overjoyed" that Francis is visiting the Capitol.
"Pope Francis has renewed the faith of Catholics worldwide and inspired a new generation of people, regardless of their religious affiliation, to be instruments of peace," she added. "In the spirit of the namesake of San Francisco, St. Francis of Assisi, Pope Francis’ universal message of love and compassion speaks to millions around the world."