• Pope Francis Does His Best To Mingle With DC Flock

    Following his meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House, Pope Francis squeezed in some personal touches on a short popemobile ride.

    A small girl, perhaps 2 or 3 years old, slipped through the security barrier toward the middle of the pope’s circuit. A Secret Service agent took her by the hand — but when he saw her, Francis stopped the car and insisted that the girl join him for a brief embrace and blessing.

    “Please, take her to Farragut North! We can’t get anywhere in this traffic” pic.twitter.com/nXSiYPczIx

    — Alex Fitzpatrick (@AlexJamesFitz) September 23, 2015

    The parade was the first moment on his American itinerary when Francis could interact with members of the public. He will also share a meal with the poor at Washington’s Catholic Charities center Thursday, in what is expected to be an unstructured and casual encounter. (RELATED: Reporters Asked Pope Francis About Being Communist. Here’s What He Said.)

    Besides the toddler, Francis also stopped the car for two infants: one in the arms of a parent behind the security barrier, and one carried to him by the security detail.

    Francis’ most widely anticipated moments in Washington include Wednesday afternoon’s mass, where he will be the first pope to canonize a saint on U.S. soil, and Thursday morning’s address to Congress. (RELATED: Pope Francis Meets Obama At White House, Both Stressing Religious Liberty)

    Francis also briefly lingered outside the Vatican embassy Wednesday morning, giving blessings and hugs to the well-wishers gathered near his temporary residence.

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