NEW YORK – Pope Francis capped off the New York leg of his trip with a grand Mass for 20,000 people a Madison Square Garden.
Also Friday, the Holy Father got to practice his English, which he studied diligently in adnvance of this trip, at school in Harlem. He greeted 4th and 5th graders from Our Lady Queen of Angels.
No visit to New York is complete without a tour through Central Park. The faithful began lining up at 5 a.m. for the pope’s 5 p.m. pass.
The celebratory tone of a papal parade in the pope mobile invigorated the pontiff who loves people. But today his heart was also heavy as he prayed at the reflection pool at the Ground Zero Memorial. There were embraces and tears as he handed loved ones of those lost on 9-11 rosaries encouraging them to pray for peace. As he looked to the water, he said the grief was palpable and the empty pit is the emptiness in the lives of those grieving.
The leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics was not afraid to wave his finger at world leaders. He wants them to lift up the poor, protect against mass atrocities, stop rejecting refugees and stop ravaging the environment. A bold global initiative to end poverty and protect the environment came up on the agenda at the United Nations General Assembly. World leaders listened to the Holy Father, unanimously passing the plan the pontiff called a “sign of hope.”
Tomorrow it's on to Philadelphia for the meeting the pope originally decided to come to this country for, The World Meeting of Families where Pope Franics will urge people to commit to taking care of one another.