Pope Francis in the US and Cuba – five highlights

Pontiff's week-long tour has included a warning on climate change and a meeting with a young devotee

Pope Francis and Barack Obama
(Image credit: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

Pope Francis is currently on his first visit to the US, where he is meeting President Barack Obama and addressing Congress, as well as holding masses and other public events in Washington, Philadelphia and New York. He has also visited Cuba on his week-long tour.

Here are the five highlights of his visit so far:

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A stern warning on climate change

Pope Francis lauded Obama's initiatives on climate change which he says "can no longer be left to our future generations". Invoking the words of Martin Luther King, he said: "We have defaulted on a promissory note and now is the time to honour it."

A letter from five-year-old Sophie Cruz

In Washington, a five-year-old girl pushed past security to hand Pope Francis a letter asking him to push for US immigration reform. "I want to tell you that my heart is sad," began the note. Sophie Cruz's parents are undocumented migrants from Mexico and she fears that they will be deported.

Pressure on bishops to welcome migrants

The Pope urged his fellow American bishops to welcome new immigrants into the US. With a mildly scalding tone, he also told clergymen to "flee the temptation of narcissism" and not "look the other way" on issues such as the elderly, abortion and childhood hunger.

A strong message to the US and Cuba to set a global example

In his first visit to Cuba, the Pope urged the population of the Communist-ruled island to serve one another rather than serving ideology. "Service is never ideological, for we do not serve ideas, we serve people," he told them. He also encouraged the US and Cuba to set a global "example of reconciliation".

A divisive move to declare Junipero Serra a saint

Controversially, the Pope canonised the 18th-century missionary Junipero Serra. His move was welcomed by Hispanic Catholics but slammed by some Native Americans, who believe Serra helped wipe out indigenous people and their culture.

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