Pope Francis - White House
Children of parents who work at the Lithuanian Embassy take selfies with Pope Francis as he departs the Apostolic Nunciature, the Vatican’s diplomatic mission in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015. Pope Francis will visit the White House where President Barack Obama will host a state arrival ceremony. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

For those who want to catch a glimpse of the pope, his first full day in Washington began early.

Oval Office meeting and a papal parade – Wednesday, Sept. 22

– Pope is behind schedule

-Few or no problems reported at security checkpoints along the mall

-Traffic has been light on the roads and rails

WASHINGTON — Crowds totaling in the tens of thousands are awaiting excitedly for Pope Francis to make his way to Downtown D.C. first for a formal arrival ceremony at the White House and then for his public parade along the Ellipse and Constitution Avenue.

 The crowds began forming well before dawn Wednesday as Pope Francis is set to begin his first and only full day in the nation’s capital. The 15,000 expected for the event on the South Lawn at the White House had to be there before 8 a.m. 

Meanwhile teems of people have already poured into two public viewing areas along the Ellipse and the grounds of the Washington Monument. The stood 10-people deep along Constitution Avenue by about 9:15 a.m., reports WTOP’s  Neal Augenstein. 

And a smaller crowd gathered around the Vatican Embassy, where the pope is staying,to watch him depart for the White House. 

WTOP’s Kristi King reports that, contrary to earlier reports, no backpacks of any size will be allowed along the parade route. 

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