Pope Francis in the Rome parish of the Sacro Cuore di Gesu for a pastoral visit on January 19, 2014.

Story highlights

President Obama and the Pope will discuss poverty and inequality, the White House says

The visit will be the first between the two

Obama met with Francis' predecessor, Benedict XVI, in 2009

The President will also to visit the Netherlands and Belgium

CNN  — 

President Barack Obama will meet with Pope Francis for the first time on March 27 at the Vatican, the White House announced Tuesday.

Obama’s visit with the leader of the Roman Catholic Church will be part of a larger European trip that the President will take that month.

“The President looks forward to discussing with Pope Francis their shared commitment to fighting poverty and growing inequality,” a White House news release said.

Obama raised the Pope’s stance on inequality in an economic address in December.

“Across the developed world, inequality has increased,” Obama said. “Some of you may have seen just last week, the Pope himself spoke about this at eloquent length. ‘How can it be,’ he wrote, ‘that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?’ “

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters last week – after his own visit with the Vatican’s secretary of state – that Obama would soon meet with Francis. But Kerry did not specify when.