Pope Francis is touring America this week like he's in an Albert Brooks movie or something, and he's got a pretty packed itinerary. He landed around rush hour last night and went straight to Famous Ray's to get a New York slice (maybe).
And he's probably being safely watched right now by New York's finest, no matter what Pat Lynch says.
We were wondering what the other popes who've come to the United States got into while here on their first official visits so itineraries were checked.
Let's go to the tape! All images via Getty unless otherwise noted.
Pope Benedict XVI
For a whirlwind five days in the spring of 2008, after landing at Andrews Air Force Base, Pope Benedict the XVI-th toured America.
He met a lot of interesting people!
The second day of his visit was also his 81st birthday!
"Spectators sang happy birthday to Benedict — 81 today — who smiled, clasped his hands together and bowed in acknowledgement," The Guardian reported.
He spent the day doing what every birthday boy wants to do: visiting the White House.
Then one last surprise: There was a cake, which everyone clapped for.
Following dessert, the Real Talk Express left the station.
The Pope, as he had promised, then raised the Iraq war and his concern for the treatment of illegal immigrants in the US, who make up an estimated 12 million to 20 million of the population, most of them Latino.
The next day Benedict performed mass at Nationals Stadium—on the same field as Jayson Werth!
Then it was off to New York for Benedict, where he talked to the United Nations about human rights among other subjects.
Speaking in French and English — and offering a greeting of "peace and prosperity with God's help" in six languages including Arabic and Chinese — the pope denounced go-it-alone superpower strategies to solve global problems.
"Indeed, questions of security, development goals, reduction of local and global inequalities protection of the environment, of resources and the climate, require all international leaders to act jointly and to show a readiness to work in good faith, respecting the law and promoting solidarity with the weakest regions of the planet. I am thinking especially of those countries in Africa and other parts of the world which remain on he margins of authentic integral development."
Later that day, since it was the eve of Passover, Benedict became the first Pope to visit a Jewish place of worship in the United States.
The next day he performed another mass, this one at St. Patrick's Cathedral, where he prayed for victims of sexual abuse by members of clergy.
On his last day in America, he visited Ground Zero and "blessed it."
Then he hit the 4 train (unlikely) to perform another mass, this time at Yankee Stadium.
Pope John Paul II
JP2 came to the United States for the first time in October 1979 with an even fuller itinerary. He hit Boston, New York, including the United Nations, Philadelphia, Chicago, Des Moines, and Washington. He'd end up coming six more times during his tenure.
In Boston he traveled around pretty freely. It would be two more years before the assassination that nearly took his life and inspired the creation of The Popemobile.
Wearing a red hat as protection against the sporadic rainfall, the pope smiled broadly and waved continuously at the thousands lining the streets.
Then he spent two days in New York where he talked to the U.N.
He performed Mass at the old Yankee Stadium, too.
Social thinking and social practice inspired by the Gospel must always be marked by a special sensitivity towards those who are most in distress, those who are extremely poor, those suffering from all the physical, mental and moral ills that afflict humanity, including hunger, neglect, unemployment and despair.
At Shea Stadium (RIP), he once again gave a mass, telling the 52,000 assembled, "a city needs a soul if it is to become a true home for human beings."
Then it was off to Philadelphia for a day.
While the weather miraculously cleared up for the Pope, there was apparently some difficulty with the ticketing for the Philadelphia events:
There was also a heaven-sent gift of good weather. Torrential rains during the night had changed to mere clouds during the morning and by midafternoon, before the Pope 's arrival, the day was sunny and remained so.
Aside from the chagrin in South Philadelphia, the only noticeable discontent was at Logan Circle, where a number of holders of rare silver tickets were denied their seats, apparently because of the presence of hundreds of counterfeit tickets. Despite that headache, an estimated 400,000 jammed the Circle and surrounding streets for the Mass.
Then Des Moines got in on the palpable Papal action.
He gave an outdoor mass and gave holy bread to those in America's breadbasket.
And he got to experience the American interstate highway system like a real tourist.
As a cardinal from Krakow, Wojtyla had visited Chicago in 1976, met Mayor Richard J. Daley and prayed in the area's Polish parishes. In 1979, church officials warned that, as pope, his visit to Chicago wouldn't be a "social" call but would "differ greatly," the Tribune reported. "People must be reasonable," the official said. "The pope just won't have the time to visit everyone, not even the Polish community."
His mass in Grant Park drew the largest crowd that Chicago has ever had in one place. John Paul II: bigger than the '85 Bears and all those Bulls championship teams.
"Let love then build the bridge across our differences and at times our contrasting positions. Let love for each other and love for truth be the answer to polarization."
To finish the trip, John Paul II hit Washington, performed a mass in the Capitol Mall, and became the first Pope to visit the White House.
The notes from John Paul's private meeting with President Carter are available online and are super worth checking out, but here is a sampling.
In 1965, Paul VI became the first Pope to ever visit the United States and, as Time notes, the circumstances were less than ideal—His Holiness and President Johnson ended up meeting in a hotel, it was weird.
OK, let's back up.
Before President Kennedy was elected, there were concerns and a whisper campaign that he couldn't be trusted if elected because as an Irish Catholic, he was secretly in cahoots with the Emperor of Rome. The 60s were a lot of fun.
So, Paul VI wanted to come to New York to address the United Nations and specifically call for peace between India and Pakistan who were not getting and have not ever gotten along.
BUT! The U.S. and the Vatican didn't have formal relations (separation of church and state was actually adhered to in the past). So LBJ was put in a weird position: if he had the Pope visit him at the White House, it would look bad to non-Catholic Americans who cared about that sort of thing. If he dissed the Pope entirely, Catholics everywhere would be mad.
So they met in a hotel instead. I mean, it was the Waldorf-Astoria, but it was still a hotel. In the 60s!
LBJ was welcomed at the Vatican when he visited later in his presidency.
Oh, and in a neat bit of symmetry, Paul VI visited in conjunction with the feast of St. Francis, something the current Pope is probably pretty familiar with, feast-day-wise.
David Matthews operates the Wayback Machine on Fusion.net—hop on. Got a tip? Email him: firstname.lastname@example.org