Vermont's lone member of the United States House of Representatives will have a special guest with him for Pope Francis' speech before lawmakers Sept. 24. The address will be the first ever by a pope to Congress.
Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vermont, said he didn't have to think too hard about who would get his one guest ticket for the speech. Welch's sister, Maureen, is Sister Maureen Welch, an Ursuline nun in New Rochelle, New York.
Welch said Sister Maureen called him to request a spot on the guest list even before members of Congress were notified of the Pope's speech in Washington.
"I didn't even know the Pope was coming [at that point]," Welch admitted, laughing. "I don't think President Obama knew the Pope was coming. But my sister Maureen knew the Pope was coming! I'm a little excited because it's going to be a little bit of a reunion for me and Maureen."
Welch said he is very eager to hear from Pope Francis, calling it refreshing that Francis has been such an advocate for the environment, the poor, and for social justice issues.