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Pope Francis begins second leg of US visit in New York


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Pope Francis begins second leg of US visit in New York

Pope Francis has been welcomed to New York by throngs of people who lined the city’s Fifth Avenue.

The pontiff made his way down the famous artery in Manhattan in his popemobile to the recently renovated Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, where around 3,000 people crammed inside for an evening prayer service.

Francis avoided making any political statements and focused solely on spiritual issues – calling for “gratitude and hard work”.

This softer tone was in stark contrast to his comments at the US Congress on Thursday.

There he delivered a speech that dealt with several issues important to both Republicans and Democrats.

The pope alluded to abortion and euthanasia, defended traditional family values and called for the abolition of the death penalty.

The pontiff’s plea on immigration received a mixed reaction.

“We must not be taken aback by their numbers, but rather view them as persons, seeing their faces and listening to their stories, trying to respond as best we can to their situation. To respond in a way which is always humane, just and fraternal,” said Pope Francis.

The pontiff will address the United Nations General Assembly on Friday, visit the 9/11 memorial and celebrate mass at Madison Square Garden. The final leg of his journey will be a visit to Philadelphia.

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