In a few hours, Pope Francis will arrive at John F. Kennedy Airport to begin the second leg of his journey to the United States: a visit to New York City.
Francis’ arrival comes following a two-day visit to Washington, D.C., which included addressing a joint session of Congress Thursday morning on Capitol Hill. During his speech, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church called for the abolition of the death penalty and for Americans to follow the “Golden Rule” in helping those less fortunate.
The pope is slated to arrive at JFK at 5 p.m., where he will be greeted by Bishop Nicholas Di Marzio, leader of the Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens, among other dignitaries. Francis will then be whisked via helicopter to Manhattan for an evening vigil at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
On Friday, Pope Francis will address the United Nations General Assembly, participate in a prayer service at the National September 11 Memorial in Lower Manhattan and visit schoolchildren in East Harlem. Later that day, some 80,000 New Yorkers will view his motorcade as it passes through Central Park en route to Madison Square Garden, where Francis will celebrate Mass in the evening.
The pontiff will then return to JFK on Saturday morning for a short flight to Philadelphia, where he will attend the World Meeting of Families.
Security is tight across the city in advance of the pontiff’s arrival. The NYPD reportedly has more than 6,000 officers working for the duration of the pope’s visit. Frozen zones will be established around Manhattan on Friday while the pope is in transit through the island.
Check back later on The Courier’s website for updates.