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Pope makes historic visit to Washington

Posted: 9:17 AM, Sep 25, 2015
Updated: 2015-09-25 09:17:55-04
Pope makes historic visit to Washington
Pope makes historic visit to Washington
Pope makes historic visit to Washington
Pope Francis has had a busy stay in Washington D.C.
 
The pope became the first pontiff to address a joint session of Congress on Thursday, giving the entire speech in English.
 
 
Republicans and Democrats gave Pope Francis several standing ovations during his address, particularly when he said, "Let us not forget the golden rule. Do unto others as you would want them to do unto you."  
 
He quoted from scripture, but spoke to all, Catholic or not.  About half of the lawmakers present for the speech are Catholic.
 
Pope Francis spent a good amount of time of the speech talking about refugees desperately looking for places to go as they flee their homelands.
 
 
"Our world is facing a refugee crisis. We must not be taken aback by their numbers, but view them as [people]," he said.
 
The pontiff also encouraged lawmakers to continue to foster a land of opportunity in America.
 
"So many are stuck in violence and despair," he warned. "Their problems are our problems."
 
 
Wednesday's papal parade drew tens of thousands and so did the canonization mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.  
 
Pope mania
 
In our time in Washington, D.C., we have heard so many people say the pope’s arrival is inspiring "pope mania." We didn't understand that fully until we started walking the streets of the nation's capital.
 
You name it, it was there: Flags, buttons, T-shirts, even cardboard cutouts of the pontiff.  
 
"We're very honored to have a pope such as this one, Pope Francis, to talk about the good things people need to hear about," said Mondelle Lee who has lived in D.C. for 51 years. 
 
Lee said this isn't just about personal, financial gain though.
 
"Whatever I make, I donate half. I give it to the Catholic Church or to my church or a church in need," he said.
 
The man behind the official pope portrait
 
Pope Francis' visit to Washington D.C. attracted many from far and wide. One man in particular though has actually met the pope. Igor Babailov was also given the coveted job of painting the official pope portrait that will be unveiled at the Vatican.
 
"It's indescribably," Babailov said. "It's very special. You feel like you're off the ground. Something lifts you."
 
 
We spoke with Babailov in a quiet garden just outside of the monastery just a mile down the road from the largest Catholic church in the country. Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is on the campus of Catholic University of America.
 
Babailov has been commissioned to paint the official pope portrait for the last three popes. He hasn't even unveiled the one he has painted for Pope Francis that will be hanging at the Vatican. But he took some time to talk to us about this experience for him.
 
"Pope Francis is incredibly down to earth, which is interesting because he makes you feel off the ground. He's just special," said Babailov.
 
Babailov has also painted the official portraits of St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI.