WASHINGTON -- This is the kind of day people talk about for the rest of their lives. Babies and parents and students got to see, and some even getting to reach out and touch, Pope Francis.
Pope Francis was at the White House, praying with bishops and celebrating a canonization Mass. But those were VIP ticketed events.
Still, anyone here who wanted to wake up at the crack of dawn could see the Holy Father.
Tom Ruiz who is a Chicago area school principal was present today to see the warmth of the pontiff. And now he'll bring his message home so others hear it.
“The message is very simple. It's a message of love,” he said. “Love those who aren't like you. Be accepting and open to everyone who needs our help so we can have the opportunity to touch them with God's love.”
Jan Mucha, also from the Chicago area, watched as Pope Francis drove by and waved and looked at her.
“I want to get the video but I also want to look in his eyes so there's a moment where I drop the video,” she said. “There was a moment where I was able to look him in the eye.”
His energy washed over the crowd as thousands lined the streets for the papal parade through the National Mall. Those fortunate enough to get an invitation to the White House, heard a genuine greeting and a call to action.
“American Catholics are committed to building a society which is truly tolerant and inclusive, to safeguarding the rights of individuals and communities, and to rejecting every form of unjust discrimination,” Pope Francis said.
With that fire the pontiff heads to Congress to speak with politicians tomorrow. Democrats already know they'll like certain topics like immigration reform and climate change. But the pope insists he is not a lefty and will not open the door for gay marriage in the Catholic Church.
After the address to congress, Pope Francis heads to New York where he will speak to world leaders at the United Nations in no doubt addressing the refugee crisis. Then it's on to the 9/11 Memorial.