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Pope Francis has asked a teenage girl to sing for him during a talk via satellite with Americans ahead of his first trip to the United States.

The pope was in Rome talking to Americans in Los Angeles, Chicago and McAllen, Texas, in an event arranged Monday by ABC News.

Seventeen-year-old Valerie Herrera in Chicago wept as she told Francis she'd been bullied because of a rare skin condition and had turned to music for comfort. He said in English he would like to hear her sing. When she hesitated, he told her to "be courageous." She sang in Spanish, and he smiled and thanked her.

Francis also asked for prayers for his upcoming trip, which starts Sept. 22 in Washington. It will be his first visit to the United States.

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