WASHINGTON —Pope Francis has arrived in the United States.
His chartered airplane landed at Andrews Air Force Base outside of Washington after delivering the leader of the world's Roman Catholics on his first-ever U.S. visit.
Francis landed after a flight from Cuba, where he wrapped up a four-day visit.
Before leaving the communist island country, Francis appealed to Cubans to rediscover their Catholic heritage and live a "revolution of tenderness."
For the first time in his presidency, Barack Obama greeted a visiting dignitary at Andrews Air Force Base. The president and first lady Michelle Obama decided to be at the foot of the airplane stairs to welcome Pope Francis this afternoon when he arrives from Cuba.
Some 15,000 people were invited to the arrival ceremony on the South Lawn.The White House says President Barack Obama's decision to greet Pope Francis personally when he arrives at a U.S. military base just outside Washington is a symbol of the high level of respect that Americans have for the pontiff.
Press secretary Josh Earnest says Francis is a source of inspiration not just for Catholics, but for people of all religions around the world who share the pope's values.
Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and their wives were Andrews Air Force Base to welcome Francis on his first visit ever to the U.S.
Wednesday, the pope visits the White House.
***watch the video of the Pope's arrival in the box above***
The visit by Pope Francis to the U.S. will mark his second meeting with President Barack Obama.
They first met in March 2014 at the Vatican.
Afterward, the Vatican and the White House offered differing accounts of what the leaders discussed during their nearly hour-long meeting.
Obama stressed their common ground on fighting inequality and poverty while Vatican officials emphasized the importance to the Roman Catholic Church of what they called "rights to religious freedom, life and conscientious objection."
That point referred to a major disagreement over mandatory contraceptive coverage under Obama's health care law.