Central Falls mayor invited to White House to greet Pope Francis

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CENTRAL FALLS, R.I. (WPRI) — The mayor of Rhode Island’s smallest city has been invited to travel to Washington D.C. to welcome Pope Francis.

Mayor James Diossa, of Central Falls, said he has already been so inspired by the pope – and he can hardly wait to witness him in person.

Two weeks ago, Diossa said President Obama and the First Lady reached out to his staff, inviting him to the White House to meet the pope.

“I thought they were joking,” he explained. “We were able to confirm and now it’s two days away and I’m very excited to meet a world leader.”

Diossa, Central Falls’ first Latino mayor, will now welcome the Catholic church’s first Latino pope into the United States.

“But most importantly, the message he’s been spreading around the world is what’s captivating everyone,” Diossa said. “It’s going to be a great experience for myself and I think, this country.”

The mayor said he will arrive at the White House Wednesday morning and will stand on the South Lawn to await the arrival of Pope Francis.

As a practicing Catholic, he says he’s ready for the experience.

When asked what he would say if he could talk to the pope, he said “I would ask to bless the city of Central Falls.”

Pope Francis is expected to arrive at the White House around 9 a.m. Wednesday. Diossa said he is planning to share his experience live on Twitter.Pope Francis is coming to the United States and Eyewitness News, with the combined resources of CBS, Fox and CNN, will be bringing you in-depth coverage of this historic visit. Eyewitness News Anchors Danielle North and Mike Montecalvo will be there in person for two of the pope’s U.S. stops.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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