Tallahassee state Rep. Alan Williams on Tuesday said President Barack Obama had invited him to a meeting with Pope Francis later in the day.
“I am so honored to join the President and First Lady for this historic moment,” Williams said in a prepared statement.
“Pope Francis has challenged us all to find inventive ways to meet the challenges faced by our society from poverty to climate change,” he said. “The pope is inspiring a new generation of people, regardless of their religious affiliation, to be instruments of peace.”
Williams identifies as Baptist, according to his House biography.
“As a person of great faith, I appreciate his servant leadership and commit to work together with him, the President, our state and national leaders on issues of mutual concern,” Williams said.
The spiritual leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics is in the middle of a tour that includes Cuba and the cities of Washington, New York and Philadelphia.
Cuba and the United States re-established diplomatic relations this year in a move that Francis helped broker.
“I welcome the chance to hear Pope Francis’ message of hope and optimism,” Williams said. “He’s a man who has inspired people around the world and prompts a renewed concern among all to live our values, promote peace, help the poor and address the challenges and struggles of all mankind.”
Williams, who represents House District 8, was first elected in 2008. He is chairman of the Florida Legislative Black Caucus.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.