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  • U.S. President Barack Obama and Pope Francis share a laugh as President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama (R) welcomed the Pontiff upon his arrival at Joint Base Andrews outside Washington September 22, 2015

    U.S. President Barack Obama and Pope Francis share a laugh as President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama (R) welcomed the Pontiff upon his arrival at Joint Base Andrews outside Washington September 22, 2015 | Photo: Reuters

Published 22 September 2015

The head of the Catholic church arrived in Washington where he is expected to address the U.S. Congress.

After four intense days of masses and blessings, Pope Francis bid farewell to Cuba Tuesday and continued on to the next stage of his tour to the United States.

The head of the Catholic church arrived at Andrews Air Force Base in Washington early afternoon, met by U.S. President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle.

He is later expected to address the U.S. Congress in the capital city, and then proceed to New York and Philadelphia, where tickets to see the pope ran out in two minutes.

Later this week, the pope will meet with immigrant groups, including Obreros Unidos in Yonkers, New York.

Vatican spokesperson, Federico Lombardi, said that the pope was very touched by the displays of affection during the masses in the Cuban capital city Havana, and southeastern city of Holguin, as well as meeting people in the streets and in Revolution Square.

Early Tuesday morning Pope Francis celebrated mass in the Basilica of the National Sanctuary of the Virgen of the Copper Charity, where he called on Cubans to show compassion to others.

"We must be a Church willing to leave the house, to break down walls, to help the sick and visit with them, to attend to those who weep," said Pope Francis.
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