RELIGION
09/27/2015 07:41 pm ET Updated Sep 28, 2015

Pope Leaves The U.S. After Moving 6-Day Visit

Vice President Joe Biden came to say farewell to the pontiff before his plane took off for Rome.

Pope Francis departed for Rome on Sunday after six days in the United States. The visit, which included stops in Washington, D.C., New York City and Philadelphia, marked the pontiff's first trip to the U.S.

In his farewell to Vice President Joe Biden, bishops and organizers of the World Meeting of Families, Francis said he left with "a heart full of gratitude and hope." Biden and others had gathered to see the pope off at Philadelphia International Airport. The marching band from Cardinal O'Hara High School in Springfield, Pennsylvania, played for his sendoff.

"I thank the Lord that I was able to witness the faith of God’s people in this country, as manifested in our moments of prayer together and evidenced in so many works of charity," he told the crowd. "Your care for me and your generous welcome are a sign of your love for Jesus and your faithfulness to him."

Pope Francis speaks to a joint meeting of Congress in the House chamber on Capitol Hill on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015.
The Washington Post/Getty Images
Pope Francis speaks to a joint meeting of Congress in the House chamber on Capitol Hill on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015.

In less than a week the pontiff delivered nearly 20 addresses, including speeches at Congress, the United Nations, Independence Mall and the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. He celebrated four Masses, canonized a saint, met with inmates at a Philadelphia prison and spoke to children and immigrants in East Harlem. He also had a meeting with survivors of clergy abuse.

Throughout his trip Francis pressed Americans on several recurring themes. He urged them to welcome the foreigners and refugees in their midst, reminding his audiences that he, too, is a child of immigrants. He spoke out against materialism and greed and championed the Golden Rule as a solution to many of the world's ills.

He invoked the spirits of Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton to remind Americans of the prophetic and socially conscious leaders who have lead them throughout their history.

Pope Francis hugs a disabled member of a Ukrainian family during the Festival of Families on September 26, 2015 in Philadelph
Pool via Getty Images
Pope Francis hugs a disabled member of a Ukrainian family during the Festival of Families on September 26, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The pope reiterated the importance of the family as a fundamental Catholic value in many of his speeches. Through love, he said, families can overcome even the greatest hardships.

Many hundreds of thousands attended the pontiff's final Mass on Philadelphia's Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Francis delivered a reflective homily inviting Christians to be "prophets" of God's message of love.

The pope asked audiences to pray for him as he closed nearly every address during his U.S. stay. In his farewell, he said: "I will pray for you and your families and I ask you, please, to pray for me. May God bless you all. God bless America!"

Follow HuffPost's live blog on the papal visit:

  • Goodbye Pope Francis!
    Pope Francis looks out the window of his plane before departing Philadelphia on September 27, 2015 at the end of his six-day
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    Pope Francis looks out the window of his plane before departing Philadelphia on September 27, 2015 at the end of his six-day visit to the US. 
  • People pray during a mass celebrated by Pope Francis.
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    People pray during a mass celebrated by Pope Francis.
  • A family watches a Mass on a large screen with Pope Francis in downtown Philadelphia.
    ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS via Getty Images
    A family watches a Mass on a large screen with Pope Francis in downtown Philadelphia.
  • A family prays as they watch a Mass on a large screen.
    ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS via Getty Images
    A family prays as they watch a Mass on a large screen.
  • A family watches a Mass on a large screen with Pope Francis in downtown Philadelphia.
    ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS via Getty Images
    A family watches a Mass on a large screen with Pope Francis in downtown Philadelphia.
  • Catholic devotees sing as they watch Pope Francis' Mass.
    ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS via Getty Images
    Catholic devotees sing as they watch Pope Francis' Mass.
  • Women pray as they watch the Mass.
    ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS via Getty Images
    Women pray as they watch the Mass.
  •  A U.S. Army serviceman receives communion during a Mass celebrated by Pope Francis at Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
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     A U.S. Army serviceman receives communion during a Mass celebrated by Pope Francis at Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
  • Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli (C) walks to receive communion.
    Pool via Getty Images
    Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli (C) walks to receive communion.
  • Catholic devotees watch a Mass on a large screen with Pope Francis in downtown Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on September 27, 20
    ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS via Getty Images
    Catholic devotees watch a Mass on a large screen with Pope Francis in downtown Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on September 27, 2015. AFP PHOTO/ ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS (Photo credit should read Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images)
  • A woman does the sign of the cross as she take part in a Mass with Pope Francis in downtown Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on Sep
    ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS via Getty Images
    A woman does the sign of the cross as she take part in a Mass with Pope Francis in downtown Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on September 27, 2015. AFP PHOTO/ ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS (Photo credit should read Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images)
  • People pray during a mass celebrated by Pope Francis for the World Meeting of Families on Benjamin Franklin Parkway September
    BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI via Getty Images
    People pray during a mass celebrated by Pope Francis for the World Meeting of Families on Benjamin Franklin Parkway September 27, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Pope Francis is in the United State for the last of 6 days during his first trip as the leader of the Catholic Church. AFP PHOTO/BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Priests offer the crowd communion at Mass along Philadelphia's Benjamin Franklin Parkway on Sept. 27, 2015.
    Jaweed Kaleem/The Huffington Post
    Priests offer the crowd communion at Mass along Philadelphia's Benjamin Franklin Parkway on Sept. 27, 2015.
  • PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 27: Pope Francis celebrates mass during the World Meeting of Families on September 27, 2015 in P
    Justin Sullivan via Getty Images
    PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 27: Pope Francis celebrates mass during the World Meeting of Families on September 27, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 
  • PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 27: Pope Francis delivers the homily as he celebrates mass at the World Meeting of Families at B
    Pool via Getty Images
    PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 27: Pope Francis delivers the homily as he celebrates mass at the World Meeting of Families at Benjamin Franklin Parkway on September 27, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 
  • Pope Francis celebrates Mass at Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on September 27, 2015. 
    VINCENZO PINTO via Getty Images
    Pope Francis celebrates Mass at Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on September 27, 2015. 
  • Chalices for communion are set during a mass celebrated by Pope Francis at Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia, Pennsyl
    VINCENZO PINTO via Getty Images
    Chalices for communion are set during a mass celebrated by Pope Francis at Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on September 27, 2015. 
  • PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 27: Pope Francis greets corrections officers during a visit to the Curran-Fromhold Correction Fa
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    PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 27: Pope Francis greets corrections officers during a visit to the Curran-Fromhold Correction Facility September 27, 015 in in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  • Pope Francis waves to the audience after speaking at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary, September 27, 2015 in Wynnewwod, Pennsy
    Drew Angerer via Getty Images
    Pope Francis waves to the audience after speaking at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary, September 27, 2015 in Wynnewwod, Pennsylvania. After visiting Washington and New York City, Pope Francis concludes his tour of the U.S. with events in Philadelphia on Saturday and Sunday. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
  • Pope Francis presents an image of Our Lady of Charity from Cuba to Charles Chaput, Archbishop of Philadelphia, at Saint Charl
    Drew Angerer via Getty Images
    Pope Francis presents an image of Our Lady of Charity from Cuba to Charles Chaput, Archbishop of Philadelphia, at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary.
  • Pope Francis met privately with survivors of sexual abuse at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary on Sunday morning.&nbsp;<br><br>Re
    ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS via Getty Images
    Pope Francis met privately with survivors of sexual abuse at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary on Sunday morning. 

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  • PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 26: Pope Francis attends the Festival of Families along Benjamin Franklin Parkway on September 2
    Pool via Getty Images
    PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 26: Pope Francis attends the Festival of Families along Benjamin Franklin Parkway on September 26, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Pope Francis wraps up his trip to the United States with two days in Philadelphia, attending the Festival of Families and meeting with prisoners at the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility. (Photo by Eric Thayer-Pool/Getty Images)
  • Pope Francis arrives for the Festival of Families in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on September 26, 2015.  AFP PHOTO / VINCENZO
    VINCENZO PINTO via Getty Images
    Pope Francis arrives for the Festival of Families in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on September 26, 2015. AFP PHOTO / VINCENZO PINTO (Photo credit should read VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images)
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