Director of Hartford’s Archdiocese Social Justice Office will get the chance to greet the pope

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HARTFORD--Getting a chance to see the pope in person is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and several people from Connecticut get to make the journey.

Each Congressional leader can invite a guest to Pope Francis' planned speech during a joint session of Congress on Thursday.

Within the walls of a former convent, the Archdiocese of Hartford's Social Justice Office works to forward the teachings of the church and fight for those who may not have a voice. While it's a small operation, it received big recognition last week when Sen. Richard Blumenthal called.

"It's very exciting, it was an offer that we certainly couldn't pass up,” said Executive Director Lynn Campbell, “so I made whatever arrangements I could to get down to D.C."

She was invited to see the pope in person, with an invitation to watch him address Congress.

"I'm looking forward to most being able to be in the same room as Pope Francis,” said Campbell. "He just generates so much enthusiasm and excitement for the church's teachings."

Pope Francis has certainly made an impression on generations, and his presence felt here in the states even though this will be his first visit to the U.S.

While grateful for the opportunity, Campbell doesn't think it's a coincidence the Social Justice Office was invited. She believes the Pope's address will focus on important issues of our time, like the Syrian refugee crisis.

“I think he's going to challenge some folks,” said Campbell. "He's going to affirm some of the things the United States is doing, but he's also going to put a challenge to us.  There's a lot of things going on around the world that we need to be paying attention to."

The high-profile visitor also comes with a massive security challenge. Campbell says she's already been briefed on the rules, which includes no bags. She is also expecting several security screenings.

"Once we get to the chamber, we won't be able to bring anything except our ticket."