Images: Pope Francis in Washington, D.C.

 
Associated Press
Updated 9/23/2015 12:03 PM

Pope Francis opened his visit to the United States with a strong call Wednesday for action to combat climate change, calling it a problem that "can no longer be left to a future generation." President Barack Obama, in turn, hailed the pontiff as a moral force who is "shaking us out of our complacency" with reminders to care for the poor and the planet.

Cheering crowds, with some people holding out babies for blessings, jammed a parade route along Constitution Avenue as Francis later made a leisurely loop around the streets near the White House in his open-sided popemobile -- a white Jeep -- for his first direct encounter with the American public.

Washington was the first stop on the pope's six-day, three-city visit to the United States. On Thursday, Francis is expected to deliver the first papal address ever to Congress.

Francis has been pressing his environmental message ahead of crucial climate change talks later this year in Paris, issuing a major teaching document on humanity's obligation to protect God's creation and aiming to spur world leaders to make commitments to reverse global warming. He will bring that message to the United Nations on Friday.

Pope Francis give the thumbs-up from the popemobile during a parade around the Ellipse near the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015.
Pope Francis give the thumbs-up from the popemobile during a parade around the Ellipse near the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015.
A woman reacts as Pope Francis hugs her as he departs the Apostolic Nunciature, the Vatican's diplomatic mission in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015, en route to the White House where President Barack Obama will hot a state arrival ceremony.
A woman reacts as Pope Francis hugs her as he departs the Apostolic Nunciature, the Vatican's diplomatic mission in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015, en route to the White House where President Barack Obama will hot a state arrival ceremony.
(AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
Pope Francis turns toward President Barack Obama during his welcoming remarks at the state arrival ceremony in his honor on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015.
Pope Francis turns toward President Barack Obama during his welcoming remarks at the state arrival ceremony in his honor on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015.
(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
President Barack Obama and Pope Francis stand at attention during playing of the national anthems to begin the state arrival ceremony, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015, on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington.
President Barack Obama and Pope Francis stand at attention during playing of the national anthems to begin the state arrival ceremony, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015, on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington.
(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Pope Francis waves as he departs the Apostolic Nunciature, the Vatican's diplomatic mission in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015, for the White House where President Barack Obama will host a state arrival ceremony.
Pope Francis waves as he departs the Apostolic Nunciature, the Vatican's diplomatic mission in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015, for the White House where President Barack Obama will host a state arrival ceremony.
(AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
President Barack Obama shakes hands with Pope Francis after this welcoming speech during the state arrival ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015.
President Barack Obama shakes hands with Pope Francis after this welcoming speech during the state arrival ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015.
(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
President Barack Obama talks with Pope Francis in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015.
President Barack Obama talks with Pope Francis in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015.
(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
People wave and cheer on the parade for Pope Francis, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015, in Washington. Earlier, President Barack Obama hosted the pope at the White House during a state arrival ceremony.
People wave and cheer on the parade for Pope Francis, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015, in Washington. Earlier, President Barack Obama hosted the pope at the White House during a state arrival ceremony.
(AP Photo/Alex Brandon, Pool)
Pope Francis stands at the alter of the Blessed Sacrament Chapel for a private prayer before participating in the Midday Prayer Service at the Cathedral of St. Matthew in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015.
Pope Francis stands at the alter of the Blessed Sacrament Chapel for a private prayer before participating in the Midday Prayer Service at the Cathedral of St. Matthew in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015.
(Mark Wilson/Pool Photo via AP)
Pope Francis holds the head of a small child as he leans from the popemobile during a parade, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015, in Washington.
Pope Francis holds the head of a small child as he leans from the popemobile during a parade, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015, in Washington.
(AP Photo/Alex Brandon, Pool)
President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama greet Pope Francis during a state arrival ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015.
President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama greet Pope Francis during a state arrival ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015.
(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
President Barack Obama and Pope Francis are flanked by a U.S. and Vatican flag during a state arrival ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015. The Washington Monument is in the background.
President Barack Obama and Pope Francis are flanked by a U.S. and Vatican flag during a state arrival ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015. The Washington Monument is in the background.
(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
President Barack Obama leans over to talk to Pope Francis during a state arrival ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015.
President Barack Obama leans over to talk to Pope Francis during a state arrival ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015.
(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
President Barack Obama walk out of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015, to greet Pope Francis for a state arrival ceremony on the South Lawn.
President Barack Obama walk out of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015, to greet Pope Francis for a state arrival ceremony on the South Lawn.
(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
President Barack Obama and Pope Francis stand at attention during the playing of the national anthems during a state arrival ceremony for the pope, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015, on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington.
President Barack Obama and Pope Francis stand at attention during the playing of the national anthems during a state arrival ceremony for the pope, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015, on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington.
(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
President Barack Obama guides Pope Francis to his chair during a state arrival ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015.
President Barack Obama guides Pope Francis to his chair during a state arrival ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015.
(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Spectators wait for the arrival of Pope Francis on South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015.
Spectators wait for the arrival of Pope Francis on South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015.
(AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
U.S. President Barack Obama, center from right, Pope Francis and U.S. first lady Michelle Obama wave from the Truman Balcony during an arrival ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015. Pope Francis opened his six-day U.S. tour on Tuesday, bringing a call for Americans to do more to fight poverty, curb climate change and help immigrants. His visit runs through Sept. 27, and features stops in Washington, New York and Philadelphia.
U.S. President Barack Obama, center from right, Pope Francis and U.S. first lady Michelle Obama wave from the Truman Balcony during an arrival ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015. Pope Francis opened his six-day U.S. tour on Tuesday, bringing a call for Americans to do more to fight poverty, curb climate change and help immigrants. His visit runs through Sept. 27, and features stops in Washington, New York and Philadelphia.
Bloomberg News
Pope Francis listens as U.S. President Barack Obama, not pictured, speaks during an arrival ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015. Pope Francis opened his six-day U.S. tour on Tuesday, bringing a call for Americans to do more to fight poverty, curb climate change and help immigrants. His visit runs through Sept. 27, and features stops in Washington, New York and Philadelphia.
Pope Francis listens as U.S. President Barack Obama, not pictured, speaks during an arrival ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015. Pope Francis opened his six-day U.S. tour on Tuesday, bringing a call for Americans to do more to fight poverty, curb climate change and help immigrants. His visit runs through Sept. 27, and features stops in Washington, New York and Philadelphia.
Bloomberg News
Pope Francis waves to the crowd from the popemobile during a parade on Constitution Avenue in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015, following a state arrival ceremony at the White House hosted by President Barack Obama.
Pope Francis waves to the crowd from the popemobile during a parade on Constitution Avenue in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015, following a state arrival ceremony at the White House hosted by President Barack Obama.
(AP Photo/Alex Brandon, Pool)
With the Washington Monument on the left, Pope Francis waves to the masses from the popemobile during a parade on Constitution Avenue, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015 in Washington.
With the Washington Monument on the left, Pope Francis waves to the masses from the popemobile during a parade on Constitution Avenue, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015 in Washington.
(AP Photo/Alex Brandon, Pool)
Pope Francis waves to the crowd from the popemobile during a parade Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015 in Washington.
Pope Francis waves to the crowd from the popemobile during a parade Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015 in Washington.
(AP Photo/Alex Brandon, Pool)
Pope Francis waves to the crowd from his popemobile during a parade around the Ellipse near the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015, following at state arrival ceremony at the White House hosted by President Barack Obama.
Pope Francis waves to the crowd from his popemobile during a parade around the Ellipse near the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015, following at state arrival ceremony at the White House hosted by President Barack Obama.
(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Pope Francis arrives for the midday prayer from the Liturgy of Hours, the daily form of prayer of the Catholic Church, with bishops from the U.S., Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015, at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington.
Pope Francis arrives for the midday prayer from the Liturgy of Hours, the daily form of prayer of the Catholic Church, with bishops from the U.S., Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015, at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington.
(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Pope Francis waves from the popemobile as he heads back to the White House after a parade, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015 in Washington.
Pope Francis waves from the popemobile as he heads back to the White House after a parade, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015 in Washington.
(AP Photo/Alex Brandon, Pool)
Pope Francis arrives for the midday prayer from the Liturgy of Hours, the daily form of prayer of the Catholic Church, with bishops from the U.S., Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015, at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington.
Pope Francis arrives for the midday prayer from the Liturgy of Hours, the daily form of prayer of the Catholic Church, with bishops from the U.S., Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015, at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington.
(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Pope Francis, accompanied by Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, waves to the crowd as they arrive at St. Mathews Cathedral in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015.
Pope Francis, accompanied by Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, waves to the crowd as they arrive at St. Mathews Cathedral in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015.
(AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
A person watches a live stream of the Pope Francis in his parade as they wait for the pope to arrive for midday prayer from the Liturgy of Hours, the daily form of prayer of the Catholic Church, with bishops from the U.S., Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015, at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington.
A person watches a live stream of the Pope Francis in his parade as they wait for the pope to arrive for midday prayer from the Liturgy of Hours, the daily form of prayer of the Catholic Church, with bishops from the U.S., Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015, at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington.
A schoolboy waits for Pope Francis' return to the Apostolic Nunciature, the Vatican's diplomatic mission in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015, after President Barack Obama hosted a state arrival ceremony for the pope at the White House.
A schoolboy waits for Pope Francis' return to the Apostolic Nunciature, the Vatican's diplomatic mission in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015, after President Barack Obama hosted a state arrival ceremony for the pope at the White House.
(AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
Pope Francis waves to the crowd from the popemobile during a parade in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015, following a state arrival ceremony hosted by President Barack Obama at the White House.
Pope Francis waves to the crowd from the popemobile during a parade in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015, following a state arrival ceremony hosted by President Barack Obama at the White House.
(AP Photo/Alex Brandon, Pool)
An attendee holds American and Vatican City flags with a cross before the start of an arrival ceremony for Pope Francis, not pictured, on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015. Pope Francis opened his six-day U.S. tour on Tuesday, bringing a call for Americans to do more to fight poverty, curb climate change and help immigrants. His visit runs through Sept. 27, and features stops in Washington, New York and Philadelphia.
An attendee holds American and Vatican City flags with a cross before the start of an arrival ceremony for Pope Francis, not pictured, on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015. Pope Francis opened his six-day U.S. tour on Tuesday, bringing a call for Americans to do more to fight poverty, curb climate change and help immigrants. His visit runs through Sept. 27, and features stops in Washington, New York and Philadelphia.
Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg
Pope Francis, accompanied by Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, waves as they arrives at St. Mathews Cathedral in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015.
Pope Francis, accompanied by Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, waves as they arrives at St. Mathews Cathedral in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015.
(AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
Spectators wait for the arrival of Pope Francis on South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015.
Spectators wait for the arrival of Pope Francis on South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015.
(AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Vice President Joe Biden speaks with Secretary of State John Kerry as they await the arrival of Pope Francis before a state arrival ceremony, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015, on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington.
Vice President Joe Biden speaks with Secretary of State John Kerry as they await the arrival of Pope Francis before a state arrival ceremony, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015, on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington.
(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Pope Francis, right, shakes hands with U.S. President Barack Obama during an arrival ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015. Pope Francis opened his six-day U.S. tour on Tuesday, bringing a call for Americans to do more to fight poverty, curb climate change and help immigrants. His visit runs through Sept. 27, and features stops in Washington, New York and Philadelphia.
Pope Francis, right, shakes hands with U.S. President Barack Obama during an arrival ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015. Pope Francis opened his six-day U.S. tour on Tuesday, bringing a call for Americans to do more to fight poverty, curb climate change and help immigrants. His visit runs through Sept. 27, and features stops in Washington, New York and Philadelphia.
Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg
An attendee holds a program before the start of an arrival ceremony for Pope Francis, not pictured, on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015. Pope Francis opened his six-day U.S. tour on Tuesday, bringing a call for Americans to do more to fight poverty, curb climate change and help immigrants. His visit runs through Sept. 27, and features stops in Washington, New York and Philadelphia.
An attendee holds a program before the start of an arrival ceremony for Pope Francis, not pictured, on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015. Pope Francis opened his six-day U.S. tour on Tuesday, bringing a call for Americans to do more to fight poverty, curb climate change and help immigrants. His visit runs through Sept. 27, and features stops in Washington, New York and Philadelphia.
Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg
Bishops gather before a midday prayer service at the Cathedral of St. Matthew in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015. The Pope began his first trip to the U.S. at the White House followed by a visit to St. Matthew's Cathedral, and will then hold a Mass on the grounds of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
Bishops gather before a midday prayer service at the Cathedral of St. Matthew in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015. The Pope began his first trip to the U.S. at the White House followed by a visit to St. Matthew's Cathedral, and will then hold a Mass on the grounds of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and Pope Francis wave to the crowd on the South Lawn from the Truman Balcony of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015, during a state arrival ceremony.
President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and Pope Francis wave to the crowd on the South Lawn from the Truman Balcony of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015, during a state arrival ceremony.
(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
A man holds up a Papal flag as he waits for Pope Francis departure from the Apostolic Nunciature, the Vatican's diplomatic mission in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015. Pope Francis will visit the White House where President Barack Obama will host a state arrival ceremony.
A man holds up a Papal flag as he waits for Pope Francis departure from the Apostolic Nunciature, the Vatican's diplomatic mission in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015. Pope Francis will visit the White House where President Barack Obama will host a state arrival ceremony.
(AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
Guests listen as President Barack Obama and Pope Francis speak during a state arrival ceremony for the pope, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015, on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington.
Guests listen as President Barack Obama and Pope Francis speak during a state arrival ceremony for the pope, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015, on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington.
(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
President Barack Obama and Pope Francis walk down the Colonnade before meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015.
President Barack Obama and Pope Francis walk down the Colonnade before meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015.
(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
President Barack Obama and Pope Francis walk down the Colonnade before meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015.
President Barack Obama and Pope Francis walk down the Colonnade before meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015.
(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
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