7/23 @ 10:00 AM ET | GOP Leadership Press Conference - WATCH LIVE HERE

WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today announced he will send a bipartisan congressional delegation to the Vatican next week to represent the United States at the investiture of new Pope Francis I in Rome.  The delegation will be led by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ). 

“The installation of Pope Francis, the first Holy Father ever to hail from the Americas, is a milestone in world history and an event of monumental significance to the millions of Americans who share in the Catholic faith,” Boehner said.  “I’m pleased Congressman Smith and this bipartisan group of Members will join the Vice President in communicating the prayers and warm regards of the American people to Pope Francis as he begins his papacy.”

The House delegation to the Vatican will also include Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Sean Duffy (R-WI), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), Ruben Hinojosa (D-TX), Jim Langevin (D-RI), Daniel Lipinski (D-IL), and Loretta Sanchez (D-CA).

The House delegation will fly to Rome on commercial air flights, in compliance with the Speaker’s directive that Member use of military air transportation be suspended with sequestration in effect. 

The delegation will also include Fr. Patrick Conroy, S.J., the chaplain of the House of Representatives.