WASHINGTON, Sept. 24 (UPI) -- Pope Francis, after addressing the U.S. Congress Thursday, traveled to St. Patrick's Church to meet with Catholic Charities workers and to bless the lunch served to the homeless.
The pope had the option of remaining on Capitol Hill to dine with American leadership, but instead chose to visit Washington's oldest parish and to meet with members of the national Catholic service organization which provides disaster relief and aid to the poor. St. Patrick's offers shelter services to the homeless, and the pontiff's visit was designed to turn attention to his mission of fighting worldwide poverty.
In a brief speech in the church, Pope Francis began by invoking St. Joseph, "a person whom I love, someone who is, and has been, very important throughout my life. He has been a support and an inspiration. He is the one I go to whenever I am in a fix."
His talk included the circumstances of the birth of Jesus, noting, "The son of God came into this world as a homeless person.
"We can find no social or moral justification, no justification whatsoever, for lack of housing."
He called for "the right use of natural resources and the proper application of technology" to create a more inclusive economy.
Monsignor John Eazler, chief of Washington's Catholic Charities Archdiocese, commented, "He doesn't change the doctrine. Those are things the Catholic Church has said for years. It's his emphasis. His words are for the poor."