Shortly after 5 pm Thursday, Pope Francis arrived in New York on the second leg of his visit to the United States.
The New York Times reports that Pope Francis arrived at Kennedy International Airport, and was immediately greeted by students, that presented him with a prayer book, that the students.
The pope delivered a call to action when visiting Washington, earlier this week. Francis advised key figures in Washington to combat climate change, and to treat refugees and immigrants with compassion. He also advocated for peace, rather than war and violence.
The pope will continue this message when he attends a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly. Pope Francis aims to combine political speeches with prayer, to much anticipation.
Francis was to speak at an evening prayer vigil, held at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Fifth Avenue. By 3 PM, the cathedral was filled with nearly 2,500 priests, nuns, and other religious figures.
Pope Francis is only the fifth pontiff to visit New York City. Many streets in Manhattan have closed to traffic. Thousands of officers and secret service agents have been deployed, making the pope’s visit one of the most vast security efforts in New York City history.
Security plans have been in place for months, with drills and exercises planning for any event that could potentially occur. For additional security, an eight-foot wall has been constructed on the West side of Central Park. The intention of the wall is to separate screened spectators from those who have not been cleared by security.
80,000 people will be in attendance for Pope Francis’ planned tour through Central Park, Friday. Attendees of the event won tickets from a city lottery. Friday’s event will be the closest to a public opportunity for New York residents to see the pope.