Next Thursday, September 24, at 10 am ET, Pope Francis will address a joint meeting of the United States Congress.  You can watch it all live at

Yesterday, Speaker Boehner called the Pope’s visit “one of the biggest events in the history of the Capitol,” and rightly so.   In addition to the hundreds watching in the House Chamber, we’re expecting up to 50,000 people on the building’s West Front.  There, the address will be broadcast live, and the Pope is expected to make a brief appearance on the Speaker’s Balcony overlooking the crowd.

To maximize the sightlines for the crowd, the Pope will stand on a platform that is being constructed by the Architect of the Capitol entirely from scratch.  Here’s a first look.

Every day, people from all over walk out on to the Speaker’s Balcony.  Over the years, we’ve had wounded warriors, prime ministers, freedom fighters, NASCAR drivers, and children of all ages.  There have even been a few marriage proposals now and then.

But this is certainly a first, and if you’re looking for information on how you can be part of the Pope’s visit, just go to, where you’ll also get more behind-the-scenes coverage of this historic event.