In a Jan. 21 statement, the White House said the President “looks forward to discussing with Pope Francis their shared commitment to fighting poverty and growing inequality.”
The Vatican also confirmed the meeting.
While in Rome, he will also meet with Italy’s President Napolitano and Prime Minister Letta.
President Obama and the First Lady last visited the apostolic palace in July 2009 when they were received by Pope Benedict XVI.
The March visit follows a positive meeting between US Secretary of State John Kerry and Vatican Secretary of State Pietro Parolin Jan. 14.
The two officials found plenty of common ground, especially concerning the Middle East, although major differences between the Church and the Obama administration remain, most notably regarding life issues and health care reform.
The President’s audience with the Holy Father will follow his attendance at a Nuclear Security Summit in the Netherlands and a U.S.-EU Summit with presidents of the European Council and the European Commission in Belgium – his first visit to the EU institutions.