Continuing his whirlwind U.S. tour, Pope Francis touched down in New York City on Thursday, arriving around dusk to lead evening prayers at the historic St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan. The highly anticipated visit had the entire city as well as the nation watching closely, and numerous photos of the pope in New York swarmed the Internet under the hashtag #PopeInNYC. Streets leading up to the church were packed with people awaiting the pope's arrival as an at-capacity congregation awaited inside. Earlier that day, Pope Francis had delivered a moving address in Washington, D.C., to Congress. He then had lunch with the homeless before heading to New York.
In his speech to Congress, Pope Francis warned elected officials of the dangers of global warming, our current illegal immigration issues, and poverty issues that have created massive economic disparities within the nation. His appearance at St. Patrick's Cathedral was much more subdued. The pope led the congregation in a prayer for those who tragically lost their lives near Mecca earlier on Thursday during a stampede. He acknowledged and praised the church's nuns as well as the many priests who have been honest and faithful in their service. He is currently in a diplomatic residence in the Upper East Side, resting up for a full Friday's plan.
Pope Francis will be addressing the United Nations' General Assembly Friday morning, and then hold a late morning service at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. He will spend his afternoon at the Our Lady Queen of Angels School. The school sits behind a shuttered church and sits in one of the most underserved parts of Harlem. Pope Francis plans to talk with students about the importance of community service as well as environmentalism. A student choir will, in turn, be singing for him.
He will cap off his evening with a motorcade through Central Park on his way to Madison Square Garden for an evening mass, undoubtedly drawing even more social media posts from those who've flocked to the city to see the Catholic leader. According to Topsy, in the past day alone there have been over 35,000 tweets tagged with the #PopeInNYC hashtag. For the thousands who've come to greet the pope in person and the millions watching coverage of his U.S. visit, the social media posts shared add further depth to Pope Francis' visit, showing just how big of a reach he has across the country as well as the world.