- Associated Press - Thursday, September 24, 2015

PHOENIX (AP) - Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey was in the audience at the U.S. Capitol as Pope Francis addressed a joint session of Congress.

Ducey later said he was honored to be in attendance at Thursday’s event in Washington and said in a statement that the pope’s message of hope and compassion “is one the world should hear and take heart.”

Ducey also was in the crowd that welcomed the pope to the White House the day before.

Ducey is a life-long Catholic, and he and his wife Angela were invited by President Obama to attend Wednesday’s event. He said being able to greet the pope was a rare opportunity he won’t forget.

The Republican governor attended the congressional event as a guest of Rep. Matt Salmon, a fellow Republican.

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