By Julia Camara | Contributor
If you're not too busy hashtagging Instagram photos of your weekend plans, then take a minute to search #popeinusa. Pope Francis embarked on his first visit to the United States on Sept. 22, making a six-day sweep through Washington D.C, Philadelphia and New York City.
This particular Holy Father is known for his controversial convictions that go beyond the tenets of traditional Roman Catholicism. While the business of popes generally involves keeping the peace, Pope Francis's visit caused quite a ruckus even before he set foot in the United States.
While in Cuba,met with former president and communist leader, Fidel Castro, and spent time talking about and exchanging books on religion, Voice of America reports.
The pope also performed a Mass where he subtly spoke out against the communist government, emphasizing that people should not succumb purely to ideology, reported in Time. Additionally he addressed the importance of tolerance, mercy, reconciliation and the family.
Despite the content of the Pope's message to Cubans, Conservatives in America believe the pope did not go far enough in his public criticism of the Cuban government. Conservatives in America are also discontent about the Pope's message to Congress.
The pope's address in Congress drew some L.G.B.T. attendees. Included on the guest list were Mateo Williamson (a transgender Catholic), Vivian Taylor (a transgender Episcopalian) and Gene Robinson (an openly gay bishop).
According to the The Washington Times, the guest list was influenced by the Obama administration. This political interference upset the Vatican. Michael Hichborn, president of the conservative Catholic group Lepanto Institute, reported to Fox News that "(President Obama is) trying to force the pope into a situation where it seems as if the church is giving license to homosexuality and socialism."
The Vatican suspected it was the attempt by the President to use the papal visit as a way to publically address the pope's beliefs regarding social issues like same-sex marriage and abortion.
Regardless of what controversy comes out of the pope's visit, the public attention he is receiving from the United States is nothing short of a superstar welcome. A hefty itinerary awaited his arrival including a celebration of Mass in the Madison Square Gardens and a parade through Central Park. When he arrived in Washington on Wednesday morning, more than ten thousand people who had been waiting for hours to see him on the south lawn of the White House. As reported in the Washington Times, blocks of police and secret service lined the streets awaiting the pope's arrival.
As a means of advertising the pope's visit, a mural went up in New York City. It stands roughly 225 feet high and 93 feet across and required a total of 100 gallons of paint. The painting is of the pope standing with a cross around his neck, his hand waving a greeting. Alongside the painting is the hashtag #popeinusa and a logo of the Catholic cable channel which will air 24-hour coverage of the Pope's time in America. As reported in the Wall Street Journal, the mural encourages people to hear the words of the Pope straight from his mouth, rather than from a secular newspaper.
For more updates, photos and a chance to get involved on the hot topic conversations regarding Pope Francis, follow #popeinusa.