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Pope Francis Bids Ciao To D.C., Bound For New York City

Pope Francis walks up the stairs at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., en route to New York, after visiting Washington where he spoke to a joint meeting of Congress and ate lunch with some 300 homeless people.

Updated at 6 p.m. ET

Pope Francis departed Washington, D.C., this afternoon, bound for New York, the second to last stop on his U.S. tour. Once in New York, he will celebrate Vespers, an evening prayer, at St. Patrick's cathedral around 7 p.m.

Earlier today, the pontiff delivered a historic speech before a joint meeting of Congress and ate lunch with low-income and homeless people at Catholic Charities in Washington, D.C.

At the lunch, the pope arrived and waded through the crowd, raising his hands and wishing those assembled: "Buon appetito!"

Some 300 people were invited to eat with the pontiff. On the menu? Boneless chicken teriyaki, Asian pasta salad, steamed carrots/green beans, potato roll and brownie/blondie for dessert.

Ramona Service of Washington was quoted by The Associated Press as saying that Francis spoke "from the heart," calling him "a very giving, sensible pope."

Earlier, the pope spoke at the adjoining St. Patrick in the City, saying there is "no justification whatsoever, for lack of housing."

He talked of the problem of homelessness and hunger, saying: "We know that Jesus wanted to show solidarity with every person. He wanted everyone to experience his companionship, his help and his love. He identified with everyone who suffered."

Quoting Jesus' words from the book of Matthew, the pope said: "I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger and you helped me."

Jesus' love "spurs us to compassion and service to one another," he said.

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