CHICAGO (CBS) — U.S. Rep. Bill Foster says he is deluged with requests for tickets to see Pope Francis when the pontiff addresses Congress next month.

In fact, he says, he can think of only one other event since he arrived in Washington that created a similar demand — Barack Obama’s first presidential inauguration.

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“That’s the only thing in my experience that has even come close,” he said.

In short, this is not your average request for House gallery tickets.

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When Pope Francis has delivered his speech to Congress Sept. 24, he then will speak briefly to those gathered on the Capitol’s west lawn, which will hold the overflow crowd and have TV monitors. Foster was allotted 50 lawn tickets, and says he quickly determined that a lottery was the only fair way to give them out. He is restricting the lottery to 11th District residents; those who wish to go must apply through Foster’s Web site.

Foster is a physicist, the Pope a chemist. The congressman says he expects the pontiff to speak out on hunger and global warming.

“I hope so,” Foster says. “It’s a very simple message, not only from his faith but from people of good will around the world.”

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Those wishing tickets can enter the lottery at