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
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
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
Pope Francis visits an inner city school in Harlem
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
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.''