Pope's First U.S. Visit Was Jam Packed With Music

Pope's First U.S. Visit Was Jam Packed With Music

J-Hud, Antonique Smith, Gloria Estefan and more welcome him.

Published September 27, 2015

Hundreds of thousands flocked to the East Coast this weekend, where Pope Francis made his first visit of the U.S.

His six-day stay was a whirlwind #FollowFrancis tour that kicked off in D.C., after the First Family, the Vice President and Dr. Biden greeted him at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, where his private plane landed Tuesday evening.

At the White House, Wednesday morning, His Holiness dug in immediately on international issues like immigration, poverty, and climate change.

"Mr. President, I am deeply grateful for your welcome in the name of the all Americans," he began. "As a son of an immigrant family, I am happy to be a guest in this country, which was largely built by such families."

To this, there was roaring applause. 

"I look forward to these days of encounter and dialogue in which I hope to listen to and share many of the hopes and dreams of the American people."

He then, amid prayers and a parade, held an unprecedented meeting with a joint session of congress, which was played for the public on jumbotrons at the National Mall. Antonique Smith, Sean Paul and Natasha Bedingfield were among the performers for the 100,000 who were there.

BLACK GIRLS ROCK! ANTONIQUE SMITH DIGITAL EXCLUSIVE

By Thursday, Pope Francis was in New York, where he visited Ground Zero and the United Nations.

"In effect," he told the U.N., "a selfish and boundless thirst for power and material prosperity leads both to the misuse of available natural resources and to the exclusion of the weak and disadvantaged."

Jennifer Hudson (singing "Hallelujah"), Shakira, and Gloria Estefan were there Friday to welcome him at Madison Square Garden.

It was then off to Philadelphia, where Aretha Franklin shut it all down, serenading the pontiff with "Amazing Grace." 

"These little gestures are those we learn at home, in the family; they get lost amid all the other things we do, yet they do make each day different," he said at his final Mass. "They are the quiet things done by mothers and grandmothers, by fathers and grandfathers, by children. They are little signs of tenderness, affection and compassion."

For example, he offered: “I ask you to pray for me ... Don’t forget!”

He departed for Rome around 7:45 Sunday night.

"It was surreal," Antonique told BET.com, still beaming hours after her show. She had delivered a special version of Marvin Gaye's "Mercy, Mercy Me," which she's taken on the road, too, as part of the Hip Hop Caucus's #ActOnClimate national bus tour alongside Malik Yusef.

Not much more was said after that. The peace his presence instilled was enough.

Check out a behind-the-scene's Instagram vid from the National Mall, and Watch: Chocolate City Welcomes Pope With Open Arms, below.

BET Global News - Your source for Black news from around the world, including international politics, health and human rights, the latest celebrity news and more.

(Photo from left: Andrew Burton/Getty Images, Leon Bennett/Getty Images, Andrew Burton/Getty Images, Jewel Samad-Pool/Getty Images)

Written by Chay Liberté

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