NEW YORK CITY — Pope Francis arrived at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City on Thursday evening greeted by Catholic Church dignitaries and a cheering crowd, waving papal flags and snapping photos.
The pope was all smiles as he arrived in New York, which marks the second U.S. city he has traveled to, and the third day of his U.S. tour.
Hours earlier, on his final day in Washington, D.C., Pope Francis addressed Congress, calling on lawmakers to tackle issues such as the Syrian migrant crisis and climate change and called for an end to the death penalty.
Francis opened his remarks by saying, “I am most grateful for your invitation to address this Joint Session of Congress in the land of the free and the home of the brave,” which evoked loud cheers and applause.
It was the first ever address to Congress by a pope. And though Pope Francis is a native Spanish speaker, he gave the entire address in English.
During his time in Washington, the pope was greeted by thousands of admirers, spoke at the White House and canonized a saint. He also had lunch with the homeless, and visited Catholic Charities.
Like his visit to the nation’s capitol, Pope Francis’ schedule in New York City is jam-packed. After his arrival at JFK he was whisked away by helicopter to St. Patrick’s Cathedral for evening prayer.
Thousands flocked to 5th Avenue to catch a glimpse of the pontiff as his motorcade passed en route. One of those being Sergio Campus.
CBS News’ Chip Reid reports that Campus traveled all the way from Venezuela with his mother. He had been waiting for seven hours.
“I’m excited because I’m seeing the biggest personality of the Catholic Church,” Campus said. “He’s our hero. It’s something that moves you–something that you need to see.”
Before entering St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Pope Francis got in his popemobile and greeted those assembled to see him, including Cardinal Timothy Dolan and NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio.
While in New York City on Friday, the pope will visit the United Nations to address the United Nations General Assembly.
He will also spend the day visiting the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, a school in East Harlem and participate in a procession through New York’s Central Park. He will conclude his visit in New York City before heading to Philadelphia by celebrating Mass at Madison Square Garden.
There have been several remarkable moments so far during pontiff’s U.S. visit. Perhaps one of them being when he was greeted by a 5-year-old girl who snuck beyond the security line in Washington, D.C.
The Secret Service tried to hold the little girl, Sophie Cruz, back, but the pope beckoned her over, and blessed her in front of thousands of cheering onlookers.