Pope Francis spends day in New York - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Pope Francis spends day in New York

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Pope Francis leads mass in New York. (CBS) Pope Francis leads mass in New York. (CBS)
NEW YORK CITY (WFSB) -

People came from all over the globe to be close to the Holy Father in New York on Friday afternoon.

His first order of business was to give a message for world leaders at the United Nations and people of all religion including Roman Catholics everywhere.

Crowds roared with applause on Thursday night as Pope Francis arrived at St. Patrick’s Cathedral for vespers. Pictures were taken by Connecticut residents who wanted to see the man that they said is making a difference in the church.

On Friday morning, the Holy Father was all business. He implored world leaders at the United Nations in Spanish to protect the environment and the vast ranks of the excluded.  

Around midday, thousands gathered at the Ground Zero memorial for 9/11 for a multi-religious service.  Even in the taxis in New York the drivers were listening to the Holy Father's words.

Taxi driver Norman Phillips said both the pope and presidential visits cost him business, but he listened Friday’s speech because he's a devout Catholic.

"Traffic is very bad for me. I have to deal with it,” Phillips said. “It’s part of the job."

About 80,000 lottery holders made it their job on Friday to get to Central Park to see the pope parade through it. Security was extremely tight as guests had to file through magnetic sensors before entering the park.

"I'm very excited. It’s very emotional,” Hamden resident Mary Porto said. “I think he's the Pope for the people, Francis.  I just love him.”

However, Porto was not alone and several Connecticut residents made the trek to New York.

"I'm really interested in his environmental policies,” Clare Hall-Tipping, of Rowayton, said.

The Holy Father was going to give the mass in Madison Square Garden on Friday night.

About 20,000 people were possession of tickets to attend mass to be celebrated in Latin, Spanish and English.

But, one Connecticut couple had special seating right near the Holy Father in section "a" because they belong to the 900-year-old "Order of Malta."

Susan and Robert Staab, of Old Lyme, are members of the Order of Malta. It’s the oldest Catholic lay religious order in the world that's been helping the Vatican and the pope's mission

"A group that prides itself on helping the disadvantaged the needy, the homeless,” Susan Staab said.

Following Friday night’s mass the Holy Father will likely be exhausted. On Saturday, he heads for Philadelphia the final leg of his United States tour.  

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