RELIGION

The Vatican Releases Pope Francis' Schedule For His Upcoming Trip To U.S., Cuba

Pope Francis blesses the crowd at the end of the weekly audience in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican on June 24, 2015.  AF
Pope Francis blesses the crowd at the end of the weekly audience in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican on June 24, 2015. AFP PHOTO / FILIPPO MONTEFORTE (Photo credit should read FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)

VATICAN CITY, June 30 (Reuters) - Pope Francis will address a joint session of the U.S. Congress, the first pope to do so, on his much anticipated Sept. 19-27 trip to Cuba and the United States and meet Cuban president Raul Castro in Havana, the Vatican said on Tuesday.

His itinerary includes stops in Havana, where he meets Castro on Sept. 20, Holguin and Santiago in Cuba before going to Washington D.C., New York and Philadelphia. He will meet with U.S President Barack Obama at the White House on Sept. 23.

Under Francis, the first pope from Latin America, the Vatican mediated last year's resumption of diplomatic ties between Washington and Havana after more than half a century.

In New York, he will address the United Nations, participate in an inter-religious service at the Ground Zero site of the Sept. 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center, and meet immigrants and their children at a school in Harlem.

He will spend the last two days of the trip in Philadelphia to close the World Meeting of Families, an international Catholic gathering that takes place in a different city every three years. He will also visit the Curran-Fromhold prison.

Francis leaves on Sunday for Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay. (Reporting by Philip Pullella; Editing by Louise Ireland)

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