Pope Francis visits New York City

Pope Francis starts New York visit by celebrating Mass at Madison Square Garden

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Pope Francis celebrates Mass at Madison Square Garden in New York.

The world's most famous sports arena in Manhattan was transformed into a house of worship on Friday night. Pope Francis arrived at Madison Square Garden to celebrate Mass on September 25, in New York.  Approximately 20,000 congregants were at the arena.

"God lives in our cities. The church lives in our cities," said Francis in Spanish.

"The city that works and walks in smog has seen a great light," he said, prompting smiles and laughter at his re-working of Isaiah's biblical prophesy of Jesus' birth.

Pope also reminded the crowd to help refugees, and people who lack access to riches.

"These people stand at the edges of our great avenues, in our streets, in deafening anonymity. They become part of an urban landscape which is more and more taken for granted, in our eyes, and especially in our hearts." Pope said.

Pontiff gave his most emotionally charged speech of the US tour and mourned the lives of nearly 3,000 people who died in the September 11 attacks.

Francis also touched on the persecution of Christians, drug addiction, Iran nuclear deal and rights of to girls to an education.

"Consequently, the defense of the environment and the fight against exclusion demand that we recognize a moral law written into human nature itself," he said.

"One which includes the natural difference between man and woman and the absolute respect for life in all its stages and dimensions." 

Furthermore,  Pope is scheduled to arrive in Philadelphia on Saturday for the final leg of his tour. Organizers expect about 500,000 people for the festival and concert on Saturday and more than a million people at the papal Mass on Sunday.

In Philadelphia, Francis will celebrate Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, visit Independence Mall and attend the Festival of Families in Ben Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia, pope will address the crowd and approximately more than a million people are expected to gather.

The pope is widely expected to talk about refugees.

On Sunday, he will meet with American bishops, before visiting a prison and leading a farewell Mass on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

He will fly out of the country in the evening.

TRTWorld and agencies