Pope Francis addresses Congress in Washington D.C. - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Pope Francis addresses Congress in Washington D.C.

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(AP photo) (AP photo)
WASHINGTON, D.C. (WFSB) -

Thursday was a historic day in the Nation’s Capital as the Holy Father made the first ever address to a joint session of Congress.

Meanwhile, on the lawn outside, tens of thousands of faithful people gathered to see and be closer to him.

Pope Francis called on Congress to address a long list of challenges, from climate change to the decline of the American family.

Before dawn, Kate McNamee of Boston, who has family from Newtown, was given a ticket by a capital city police officer.

"I thought I'd stand on the periphery and one of the nice policeman said 'what are you doing? What are you doing?' I said 'I don't have a ticket' he said 'well now you do',” McNamee said.

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro helped escort Pope Francis into the chamber.

In a historic message to this body, the Pope told Congress to act on immigration and climate change.

"I heard him ask that we need to understand the common good and the common earth and that is what our mission is,” DeLauro said.

"The message of peace and social justice his faith, compassion and caring were all embracing,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal.

Declining a luncheon invitation with Congress, Pope Francis opted to dine with the poor and help at a soup kitchen at St. Patrick’s Church.

Rev. Matthew Schneider, who was trained by the Legionaries of Christ in Cheshire, said that is why he is so loved.

He created an emoji to attract the younger faithful.

"Try to get the message of the Catholic faith through social media. With that I have friends who made this app called the Pope Moji where you can get stickers you can post of Facebook or Twitter,” Schneider said.

As the Holy Father settles in to New York on Thursday night, some New Haven entrepreneurs were cashing in on the Pope fever during the historic visit.

New Haven vendor Greg Thomas sat on Independence Avenue when the Pope's Fiat cruised right by.

"It was such a chill that went through my body, really I just happen to be at the right place at the right time," he said.

On Friday, the Pope has an early meeting with the United Nations.

Follow along with all of our coverage on the Pope's visit here.

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