CONNECTICUT - Catholic churches across southwestern Connecticut are preparing for Pope Francis' visit to the U.S. this week.

The pope will arrive in Washington, D.C. Tuesday and then will travel to New York City on Thursday.

People at St. Margaret Shrine on Park Avenue told News 12 that they are looking forward to the pope's visit.

Parishioners say one of the main effects of the visit will be to unify Catholics and to bring them inspiration.

Deacon Don Foust says the pope's visit comes on the heels of the synod Mass, which brought together 8,000 Catholics in Bridgeport Saturday.     

Sen. Richard Blumenthal paid the parish a visit to seek input from churchgoers about what to share with the pope, if he gets to speak with him when the pontiff addresses Congress.

The people of the parish say they want the pope to continue to seek world peace, humanitarian grace and generosity.

Local Catholics tell News 12 they will go to New York City to be near the pope when he leads a prayer service at St. Patrick's Cathedral Thursday evening.