Rochester mayor, popular priest to greet Pope Francis as he arrives for US tour


Two dignitaries from Minnesota will be among those welcoming Pope Francis when he arrives Washington, D.C. later this month.

The beloved pope will land in the nation's capital on Sept. 23 for his first U.S. visit, spending just over a day there before heading to New York City and then Philadelphia.

And he will be greeted on his arrival ahead of his meeting with President Barack Obama by representatives including Rochester Mayor Ardell Brede, who according to the MinnPost recently received an invitation from the White House.

"Whatever it is, it's always, for me, a privilege and an honor to be able to represent this city at some pretty significant things," he said, according to the website, "and this is pretty significant."

Brede will join the president and others on the South Lawn of the White House the morning he arrives to meet Pope Francis.

Also meeting the head of the Catholic Church will be Father Tim Wenzel, a "much-loved" Catholic priest who has been serving worshippers in north-central Minnesota for almost 50 years, according to the Brainerd Dispatch.

Father Tim is the special guest of U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan for when the pope addresses a joint session of Congress on Sept. 24, Nolan said on his website.

"Father Tim has dedicated his life to the people of rural Minnesota — and much like the ideals and examples that define the Papacy of Pope Francis, he has always demonstrated a special compassion and respect for the dignity of the poor, the underprivileged, the unemployed and all who can so easily fall through the cracks in our society." Nolan added.

They are the latest two Minnesotans to be invited to see the pope, with Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges having traveled to the Vatican in July to take part in a climate change discussion with the Pontiff.

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