MEDIA

Pope Francis Holds 'Virtual Audience' With ABC's David Muir Ahead Of U.S. Visit

The pope couldn't make it to Chicago or Los Angeles -- but he did the next best thing.

ABC's David Muir moderated a first-of-its-kind discussion this week between Pope Francis and several people scattered across the U.S. who were able to interact with the pope via satellite.

Muir traveled to the Vatican to moderate the pope's interaction with what ABC called a "virtual audience." The Monday event connected the pope to a group of students in Chicago, church congregants from McAllen, Texas, and individuals from homeless shelters in Los Angeles.

Chicago high school senior Valerie Herrera had the opportunity to speak with the pope about the years of bullying she's experienced because of her vitiligo, an autoimmune disease that causes white spots on the face and body.

Herrera told the pope that after she joined her church choir, she learned to be more comfortable with herself. Francis then made a request she hadn't expected.

"May I ask for you to sing a song for me?" he asked Herrera. "Be courageous." 

A release from ABC News says the pope used the "virtual audience" as a way to reach people in cities he'll be unable to visit during his highly anticipated trip to the U.S. later this month.

During that trip, his first to the U.S. as pope, Francis will meet with President Barack Obama in Washington, D.C., and deliver an address to Congress. He will then travel on to New York City and Philadelphia. Many more details about his visit are available here.

The "virtual audience" event will air during a special edition of ABC News’ "20/20" on Friday, Sept. 4, at 10 p.m. EST.

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