The U.S. flag flies in front of a mural of Pope Francis in New York City, August 28 (CNS photo/Brendan McDermid, Reuters).

Francis in the United States: A Special Preview issue of ‘America’

From his religious order to his name to his country of origin, Pope Francis’ papacy is one of many firsts. This month brings yet one more, not for the church but for the Holy Father himself: Francis’ journey to Washington, D.C., New York and Philadelphia will mark his first-ever visit to the United States. This got us thinking: Before he arrives, what should Pope Francis know about U.S. Catholics? In the following articles, you’ll find our answers. We put together a sort of spiritual travel guide that—although it sidesteps the great cheesesteak debate—provides an in-depth look at the joys, challenges and questions facing the church in the United States today.

You can read the articles below, or peruse a pdf of our special issue “Francis in America” in English or in Spanish.

The Migrant’s Lament
Imagining their plight requires only a little heart and faith

Your Average American Catholic
A model citizen for a diverse church

A Call to Virtue
Living the Gospel in the land of Liberty

Who am I to Lead?
Female leadership for the 21st-century church

Relying on Each Other
Catholic couples discuss the realities of natural family planning

Five Minutes with Francis
Stephen Colbert, M. Shawn Copeland, Daniel J. Misleh, Ramesh Ponnuru, James F. Keenan, Arthur Fitzmaurice, Natalia Imperatori-Lee, Kathryn Jean Lopez, all answer: What would you say to the pope?