- Associated Press - Thursday, September 24, 2015

WASHINGTON (AP) - Pope Francis finished his whirlwind visit to the nation’s capital on Thursday, becoming the first pope to address a joint meeting of Congress and calling on the lawmakers to help immigrants “and embrace the stranger in our midst.”

The pope was welcomed enthusiastically to the House and asked lawmakers to welcome immigrants with compassion, abolish the death penalty and fight global warming. After the speech, Speaker John Boehner escorted him to a Capitol balcony where the pontiff waved to tens of thousands of admirers and asked them to pray for him.

The pope’s emphasis on helping the neediest continued when he greeted parishioners and homeless people at St. Patrick Church. He waded into the crowd and hugged people. He said there can be no justification for lack of housing.

Pope Francis also met with admirers at Catholic Charities and some who rely on its work.

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