Pope Francis continues U.S. voyage in New York
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Pope Francis continues U.S. voyage in New York

Follow all the latest news from New York City during Pope Francis' visit.

Pope leads Mass at Madison Square Garden

by The Associated Press

Pope Francis praised big cities for their diversity and culture but warned that they can also make their people feel they don't belong, shunning them and treating them like second-class citizens.

During a Mass at Madison Square Garden, Francis emphasized a point he has made throughout his U.S. trip: the need to welcome foreigners and marginalized people.

In his homily he also cited "children who go without schooling, those deprived without medical insurance, the homeless, the forgotten elderly.''

He says God "frees us from anonymity, from a life of emptiness and selfishness.'' He also says, "God is living in our cities,'' and so is the church. 

Pope Francis captivated a New York venue that more commonly showcases rock stars and pro athletes than religious leaders.

He road around the floor of Madison Square Garden in a golf cart, to gleeful screams from the crowd, before celebrating Mass at the arena.

He waved, smiled and accepted some flowers and other gifts.

By his preference, Francis will sit in a simple oak chair built by day laborers working for a charity, rather than by expert craftsmen.

About 200 deacons and 150 volunteers are set to assist him in giving Holy Communion.

The Mass for 18,000 people is the final event on his New York City trip. He leaves for Philadelphia on Saturday morning.


Pope on Parade through Central Park 

Pope Francis greeted tens of thousands of people as he drove through New York City's Central Park, a processional that marked his biggest public event in the city.

An ear-piercing roar rose from the crowd as his open-sided popemobile made its way slowly through the park.

Francis stood and waved to the crowd surging against barricades as the vehicle made its roughly 15-minute trip, flanked by police vehicles and officers on foot. Both sides of the Central Park road became a sea of arms holding up cellphones.

Some 80,000 people received tickets to the processional. It was added to the pope's packed schedule to allow more people to see him, and vice versa.

The pope is now on his way to celebrate Mass at Madison Square Garden as he wraps up a day of activities in New York.

 Pope Francis waves as he rides through Central Park in a Papal motorcade on September 25, 2015 in New York City. The Pope is in New York on a two-day visit. He spoke at the United Nations General-Assembly earlier and will lead a Mass in Madison Square Garden tonight. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images) 


Pope Francis visits an inner city school in Harlem
Pope Francis touches a student's face as he visits Our Lady Queen of Angels School in East Harlem, New York, Friday, Sept. 25, 2015. (Tony Gentile/ Pool Photo via AP) 

Pope Francis recalled the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous words as the pontiff speaks to children in a New York City school where many are poor and minorities.

Francis told the children from Our Lady Queen of Angels School and other Catholic schools that King's dream of equal opportunity was a hope that children like them could get an education.

The pope says "it is beautiful to have dreams'' and to be able to fight for them.

It's the second time Francis has mentioned the civil rights leader and Baptist minister during the pope's first visit to the United States. Francis told Congress on Thursday that King's dream ``continues to inspire us all.''








  • The Latest: Pope off to NY for next leg of US journey


    WASHINGTON (AP) -- 
    Latest developments in Pope Francis’ visit to the United States. 

    After a day of speaking to the powerful and mingling with the poor in Washington, Pope Francis is leaving the city for New York.

    Francis made a last round of greetings and selfies with Washington-area students, pausing to pat a little girl’s face and touch boys’ heads as he made his way to the black Fiat carrying him to Andrews Air Force Base.

    He will fly to Kennedy Airport, where his greeting party includes Cardinal Timothy Dolan and 200 indigent people.

    Francis’ plans Thursday evening include a motorcade along Fifth Avenue and a vespers service at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

    He speaks to the U.N. General Assembly on Friday, visits the 9/11 Memorial and goes to Madison Square Garden for a Mass with thousands of people.

    Then it’s on to Philadelphia for the weekend.

  • Pope Francis headed to Manhattan in helicopter

    5:45 p.m.

    Pope Francis is en route to Manhattan by helicopter after arriving at New York City’s John F. Kennedy Airport.

    As he boarded the military helicopter, he gave a final wave to the invited crowd of 200 that had gathered to greet him when he flew in from Washington.

    The pope dispensed Mass cards, handshakes and some hugs to the cheering onlookers.

    Francis is flying to the Downtown Manhattan Heliport near Wall Street in the helicopter, built by Sikorsky Aircraft.

    Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York is aboard. The two are headed to St. Patrick’s Cathedral for evening prayers.


  • NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 24: Children sleep while waiting for Pope Francis to arrive along 5th Avenue on his way to St. Patrick's Cathedral on September 24, 2015 in New York City. As the Pope continues on his American tour, he is expected to arrive in New York City from Washington D.C. in the late afternoon. In his first scheduled event in New York, the Pope will hold Mass at St. Patrick's before thousands of worshippers. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images) 



  • NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 24: People gather in St Patrick's Cathedral ahead of the arrival of Pope Francis on September 24, 2015 in New York City. Pope Francis is in New York on a two day visit and will carry out a number of engagements including a Papal motorcade through Central Park and a Mass in Madison Square Garden Mass. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images) 



  • NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 24: People gather in St Patrick's Cathedral ahead of the arrival of Pope Francis on September 24, 2015 in New York City. Pope Francis is in New York on a two day visit and will carry out a number of engagements including a Papal motorcade through Central Park and a Mass in Madison Square Garden Mass. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)



  • NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 24: A Holy Water vessel is set out in preperation for Pope Francis' arrival at Saint Patrick's Cathedral on September 24, 2015 in New York City. The Pope is scheduled to celebrate vespers, or evening prayers, and a shared a reflection after a procession down 5th Ave. (Photo by Robert Sabo-Pool/Getty Images) 



  • NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 24: New York City police officers watch over the popemobile before the arrival of Pope Francis and his scheduled ride down Fifth Avenue to St. Patrick's Cathedral September 24, 2015 in New York City. Maryland.The pope is on a six-day visit to the U.S., with stops in Washington, New York City and Philadelphia. (Photo by Richard Drew-Pool/Getty Images) 


  • 6:05 p.m.

    Pope Francis has arrived in Manhattan by helicopter and hopped into a Fiat hatchback, traveling in the same modest style as he did in Washington.

    The military helicopter touched down at the Downtown Manhattan Heliport near Wall Street after a short flight from John F. Kennedy Airport. He landed there after flying in from Washington.

    Francis is headed to St. Patrick’s Cathedral for evening prayers in a charcoal gray, four-door Fiat 500L with a yellow papal flag on the hood.

    The pope has eschewed limousines on his U.S. trip in favor of far smaller, Italian-made Fiats.

    In general, he has made a point of traveling in modest cars, as part of his emphasis on simplicity and rejecting consumerism.

  • 6:25 p.m.

    A disabled 12-year-old girl and her family say she has new hope after Pope Francis blessed her as he arrived in New York City.

    Julia Buzzese sat in her wheelchair as her family eagerly waited for Francis at John F. Kennedy Airport, hoping the pope they admire would bless her.

    As he greeted the crowd of about 200, he walked over to Julia. She and her mother, Josephine, asked him to bless her. He put his hands on her forehead, nodded and gave her his blessing.

    Julia says it made her “so happy.” She says she thinks it will make her feel better.

    Julia abruptly became unable to walk in May. Her mother says doctors have been unable to determine what is wrong with her.
  • 6:40 p.m.

    Thousands of New Yorkers are getting their first glimpse of Pope Francis as he rides to St. Patrick’s Cathedral in his open-sided Jeep popemobile.

    The crowd screamed with excitement as the pope drew up to the vehicle in a Fiat, waved and began a roughly five-block motorcade down Fifth Avenue to the cathedral, flanked by police vehicles with flashing lights.

    Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York is riding with him as they head to the cathedral for evening prayers.

    Onlookers carried Vatican flags, rosaries and hopes of seeing the pontiff.

    Max Barreto came from Santa Barbara, California, with four members of his Catholic youth group just to catch sight of the pope. The 22-year-old says just “seeing him and feeling his presence” makes the long trip worthwhile.


  • Pope Francis engages well-wishers including Gerard Gubatan, of the Brooklyn borough of New York, center left, after arriving at John F. Kennedy International Airport Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle, Pool) 



  • Pope Francis engages well-wishers including Gerard Gubatan, of the Brooklyn borough of New York, center left, after arriving at John F. Kennedy International Airport Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle, Pool) 



  • NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 24: Pope Francis acknowledges well-wishers outside St. Patrick's Cathedral on September 24, 2015 in New York City. The pope is on a six-day visit to the U.S., with stops in Washington, New York City and Philadelphia. (Photo by Damon Winter-Pool/Getty Images) 


  • Pope, after blunt talk to Congress, thanks nuns in New York

    NEW YORK (AP) — Pope Francis plunged into the melting pot of New York after reminding the country of its immigrant origins in the first papal speech before Congress on Thursday. 

    Over an intense 40 hours that started with an evening prayer service at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, where he gave a deeply meaningful thank you to America’s nuns, he will address world leaders at the United Nations, participate in an interfaith service at the Sept. 11 memorial museum at ground zero and celebrate Mass at Madison Square Garden.

    Read more here.
  • 7:15 p.m.

    Pope Francis is praying vespers — the formal term for evening prayers — at New York’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

    Members of the clergy and religious orders have filled the grand, gothic-style cathedral for the service.

    As Francis made his way down the long central aisle to the altar, he occasionally stopped to greet people in the pews, including a a girl in a wheelchair and a mother holding a baby.

    The girl wiped at her eyes, as if to whisk away tears, after he blessed her.

    Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Bill de Blasio, Sen. Charles Schumer and other elected officials are attending the service.

  • 7:20 p.m.

    Pope Francis has expressed his solidarity with Muslims following the hajj stampede in Saudi Arabia, where more than 700 people were killed.

    Francis opened his visit to New York by offering a prayer for the victims from the altar of St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

    Francis said he wanted to offer a “sentiment of closeness in light of the tragedy” that the Muslim people had suffered on Thursday.

  • 7:40 p.m.

    The pope has again raised the clergy sex-abuse crisis, by consoling clergy for the suffering the scandal had caused them.

    Francis told members of religious orders and diocesan priests on Thursday that he was aware they had “suffered greatly” by having to “bear the shame” of clergy who had molested children. He thanked them for their faithful service to the church in the face of the scandal.

    The pope made the comments at a prayer service at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. He made similar comments in an address to bishops Wednesday in Washington, praising them for what he called their “generous commitment” to helping victims.

    The comments have angered advocates for victims, who say American bishops only took decisive action to stop perpetrators when lawsuits and government investigations revealed documents that showed the scope of the problem. The abuse crisis erupted in 2002 with the case of one pedophile priest in the Archdiocese of Boston, then spread across the country and overseas.

    A Vatican spokesman defended the pope’s remarks, saying it was appropriate to recognize the bishops’ extensive reforms over more than a decade in response to the scandal.


  • NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 24: Pope Francis arrives at aboard the popemobile at St. Patrick's Cathedral September 24, 2015 in New York City. The pope is on a six-day visit to the U.S., with stops in Washington, New York City and Philadelphia. (Photo by Anthony Behar-Pool/Getty Images) 


  • WATCH LIVE: The Pontiff is preparing to deliver Mass at the cathedral. nbcbay.com/E4kltRj http://pbs.twimg.com/media/CPs_1PkWsAAJ90z.png


  • Pope Francis speaks during evening prayer service at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York, Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, Pool) 



  • Visitors take photos as a motorcade arrives carrying Pope Francis on his way to say mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015, in New York . (AP Photo/Kevin Hagen)


  • 8:30 p.m.

    Pope Francis has left St. Patrick’s Cathedral after consoling priests for having to “bear the shame” of the clergy sex-abuse scandal, thanking America’s nuns and offering a prayer for Muslims killed in the hajj stampede in Saudi Arabia.

    The pope’s remarks — his first in New York City — came during evening prayers at the cathedral.

    The pontiff gradually made his way out, shaking hands with nuns and others, blessing a girl and a boy who was passed through the crowd by his father. Then he got in his Fiat, waved to the crowds still gathered outside and drove off.

    As Francis rests ahead of a packed day, he’s expected to stay at the home of the Vatican’s ambassador to the United Nations, Archbishop Bernardito Auza.

    The pope’s schedule Friday includes addressing world leaders at the United Nations, participating in an interfaith service at the Sept. 11 memorial museum, visiting a school and taking a processional drive through Central Park. He will celebrate Mass at Madison Square Garden.

  • 9:10 p.m.

    While Pope Francis’ remarks at a prayer service at St. Patrick’s Cathedral were reflections on the life of the church, plenty of those involved in the workings of the state were on hand for his first stop in New York City.

    New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (KWOH’-moh), Mayor Bill de Blasio (dih BLAH’-zee-oh), and U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (SHOO’-mur) were among them.

    Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump wasn’t at the service but watched from a balcony in nearby Trump Tower as the pontiff’s motorcade drove by.

  • 9:20 p.m.

    The priest who gave Pope Francis a blessing before the first-ever papal address to Congress had no expectation he would even be asked.

    That’s according to the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi. He says the Rev. Patrick Conroy was excited just to meet the pope and didn’t anticipate that Francis would ask him for his blessing.

    Conroy is the Catholic chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives. He placed his hands on Francis’ head, which was bowed in prayer.

    Francis often asks other clergy to bless him and constantly asks the faithful to pray for him.

  • 9:50 p.m.

    Nuns who heard Pope Francis’ strong message of support and thanks for their work are exuberant about his praise, which comes after a trying time for U.S. religious sisters.

    Sister Gertrude Lily of the Franciscan Handmaids of the Most Pure Heart of Mary says she’s “very grateful for him recognizing that we, too, are disciples of the Lord.”

    Speaking at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Francis described nuns as “women of strength” and “fighters” who had a “spirit of courage” as they served at the forefront of the church.

    His words held enormous significance for U.S. sisters. They had been the subject of Vatican investigations under his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI. The Vatican offices that guard orthodoxy had accused the group of straying broadly from church teaching. The nuns denied it.

    Sister Mary Alice Kizita Otoo of the Handmaids of the Divine Redeemer of Accra also was at St. Patrick’s to hear the pope speak. She says nuns appreciate that the pope is talking about their good works, and he has inspired her “to yearn to be there more for the poor.

  • 10:20 p.m.

    The Vatican spokesman has denied claims by advocates for victims that the pope has given short shrift to their suffering in his remarks on the clergy sex-abuse crisis.

    The Rev. Federico Lombardi says Pope Francis has acknowledged victims by referring to children as the most vulnerable members of the church and speaking of child molestation as a crime.

    Lombardi also noted Thursday that the pope has three more days of public events in the U.S., suggesting that further comments are ahead.

    In two separate speeches, the pope has commended U.S. bishops for their response to victims and said he understood clergy had “suffered greatly” because of the shame from the scandal.

    The crisis erupted in 2002 in the Archdiocese of Boston, then spread across the country and overseas.


  • Pope Francis leads an evening prayer service at St. Patrick's Cathedral, Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow) 



  • Nuns react as they catch sight of Pope Francis as he arrives to lead an evening prayer service at St. Patrick's Cathedral, Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow) 



  • Nuns scramble to get into position for a photograph of the Pope as he leaves St. Patrick’s Cathedral Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015 in New York. (Robert Sabo/New York Daily News, Pool) 



  • Pope Francis greets people as he leaves St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York, Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015. (Chad Rachman/New York Post via AP, Pool) 



  • Pope Francis prays at the altar of Saint Elizabeth before an evening prayer service at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York, September 24, 2015. Pope Francis is on a five-day trip to the USA, which includes stops in Washington DC, New York and Philadelphia, after a three-day stay in Cuba. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, Pool) 



  • Pope Francis leaves an evening prayer service at St. Patrick's Cathedral, Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015, in New York. (Robert Deutsch/USA Today via AP) 



  • Pope Francis reaches out to 5th grader Omodele Ojo of the Brooklyn borough of New York as he is greeted by children upon arrival at John F. Kennedy International Airport Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015, in New York. The pope is on a five-day trip to the USA, which includes stops in Washington DC, New York and Philadelphia, after a three-day stay in Cuba. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle, Pool) 


  • 11 p.m.

    New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (KWOH’-moh) and his longtime partner, celebrity chef Sandra Lee, had a few moments with the pope after the prayer service at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

    An aide to the governor says Pope Francis bestowed a blessing on Lee, who recently announced she is cancer free after a double mastectomy.

    The aide says Cuomo also asked the pope to pray for his late father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo.


  • Pope Francis talks to the driver of his car as he leaves St. Patrick's Cathedral after leading an evening prayer service, Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson) 



  • Pope Francis, left, and Cardinal Timothy Dolan embrace during vespers at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York, Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015. (Chad Rachman/New York Post via AP, Pool) 


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    Click here for some etiquette advice from a few experts skilled at being “in the wallpaper” of such VIP visits, the protocol officers who spend weeks or months planning every detail.

    AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino, File 


  • Pope Francis set to bring his message to world leaders at UN

    WTOPNEW YORK (AP) — From the world stage of the United Nations to an inner-city school, Pope Francis is emphasizing themes that have shaped his popular papacy as he packs in encounters with the powerful and the poor in New York City.
  • Wax figure of Francis causes confusion in NYC

    WTOPNEW YORK (AP) — A publicity stunt featuring a life-size wax figure of Pope Francis appearing to wave from the back of a convertible caused some confusion before the real pontiff showed up in New York Thursday.
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