Pope Francis might not be visiting the United States for a few more weeks, but he has already addressed his dedicated followers in three cities across the country via satellite.
Holding an interactive virtual papal audience, the pontiff spoke from the Vatican with students at the Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Chicago, individuals from homeless shelters near Skid Row in Los Angeles and immigrants at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church near the U.S.-Mexico border in McAllen, Texas.
The event was hosted by ABC News and World News Tonight anchor David Muir acted as the moderator
The pope allowed the network to host the historic event in an effort to reach out to people in parts of the country he won't be able to visit during his trip later this month.
“It is very important for me to meet with you, the citizens of the United States, who have your history, your cultures, your virtues, your joys, your sadness, your problems, just like everyone else,” Pope Francis said. “That's why this trip is important for me to draw close to you and your path, your history. I'm praying for you all and I ask for you to pray for me.”
One of the heartwarming moments came when a 17-year-old girl from Chicago spoke about her struggles and how she was bullied because of her skin condition. She mentioned finding her strength in music, inspiring the pontiff to make a special request.
“I would like to hear you sing,” he said in English. “May I ask of you to sing a song for me? Be courageous!”
The teenager then treated the pope and the audience to a song in Spanish.
The entire virtual visit will be broadcasted by the network later this week.
During his visit in late September, Pope Francis will stop in Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and New York and address marginalized issues of immigration, poverty and homelessness. He will also make a stop at a Philadelphia prison, an East Harlem school and Catholic Charities in Washington, D.C.