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Pope Francis might greet public at the U.S. Capitol during September visit

People take picture with their mobile phones as Pope Francis departs from the San Francisco Church aboard the Popemobile, in Quito, Ecuador, on July 7. The pontiff met with representatives of civic organizations, entrepreneurs, indigenous communities and Catholic lay groups. (Fernando Llano/AP)

Pope Francis might visit an unusual pulpit when he visits Washington in September -- one best known for newly sworn presidents.

House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) said in a Wednesday statement that Pope Francis "has expressed an interest in making a brief appearance" on the Capitol's West Front -- the iconic facade facing the National Mall where presidents have been inaugurated since 1981.

Even if Pope Francis does not greet the public from the Capitol, Boehner said that in any case, the public is invited to gather outside on the West Front to watch a broadcast of the pope's address to a joint session of Congress.

[An exclusive look at the draft schedule for Pope Francis’s U.S. trip this fall]

"The visit of Pope Francis to the U.S. Capitol is a historic moment for the country," Boehner said in a statement. "We look forward to welcoming Pope Francis and Americans from all walks of life to our Capitol on September 24.”

Boehner, an observant Catholic, invited Pope Francis to address Congress in March of last year. The Vatican accepted the invitation and announced the U.S. trip in May.

[Want tickets to see Pope Francis when he comes to the U.S.? Better start going to church.]

The appearance at the Capitol might be the best chance for the general public -- including non-Catholics or lapsed Catholics -- to get a glimpse of the pope during his D.C. visit. While he is scheduled to celebrate a large outdoor Mass on Sept. 23 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Northeast Washington, tickets will be available mainly through local parishes.

Boehner's office said ticket information and other details will be released at a later date.