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Global Audience Turns to VOA Ahead of Pope Francis US Tour

Voice of America broadcasters are on the scene to bring the historic visit of Pope Francis to audiences worldwide on television, radio, and online.

In Washington, New York, and Philadelphia, VOA reporters and camera crews are on the scene for in-depth reporting and analysis of the visit from the White House to Capitol Hill to Ground Zero to Independence Hall.

Ahead of the visit, VOA Central News supplied language services with a wealth of in-depth interviews including Cardinal Joseph Kurtz, Archbishop of Louisville and President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops; Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington; Austen Ivereigh, London-based Roman Catholic Journalist and author of “The Great Reformer, Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope”; Thomas J. Reese, a Jesuit priest who is a senior analyst for the National Catholic Reporter and member of the president’s U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom; historian Kathleen Sprows Cummings, director of the University of Notre Dame’s Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism; and Carolyn Woo, president of the international humanitarian aid group Catholic Relief Services – and one of the highest-ranking women in Catholicism.

“He's a humble individual and that humility is really important - and it's important to him - and it's important to the message that he brings in this position,” New York City Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito told a special edition of HashtagVOA broadcast from Washington and New York.

“He's the first Pope from the South - from the Global South - and he looks at the world from the bottom up, not from the top down,” said Paul Vallely, author of “Pope Francis: The Struggle for the Soul of Catholicism.” “We need a voice of faith that is the voice of reason - a voice of compassion - a voice of kindness - and a voice that, frankly, can be very indicative to the policymakers around the world,” said Azza Karam, Senior Advisor on Culture at the UN Population Fund.

VOA Spanish prepared twelve advance packages covering topics from Pope Francis' stance on abortion and homosexuality to his fascination with social media. Immigration is also a priority issue for the Pope. "For the Holy Father the main message, the basic message, is that all migrants are men like us. They are men and women, girls and boys, and they are human beings," explained Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Apostolic Nuncio of the United Nations.

Pope Francis will be traveling to the U.S. from Cuba. Cuban-born Congresswoman Iliana Ros-Lehtinen told VOA Spanish that, hopefully, Pope Francis' visit to Cuba, will help the people there.