It's been a whirlwind visit for Pope Francis, who managed to crisscross Manhattan since he touched down Thursday evening.
In this time, he gave a speech, led several religious services, visited a school and greeted tens of thousands of the faithful and curious while he rode through Central Park. New Yorkers made a point of showing him their gratitude Friday before he leaves for Philadelphia, the last stop in his multicity tour of the United States.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo presented the pope with a special cross made from steel salvaged from the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers. Pope Francis visited the Sept. 11 Memorial and Museum, where he met with 9/11 victims' families and participated in a service.
“It is an extraordinary honor to have Pope Francis in New York state, a man who embodies the values of kind-hearted acceptance, care for others, and undying hope for the future -- values that are also embodied in the fabric and people of New York,” said Cuomo. “On behalf of all New Yorkers, I am proud to be hosting His Holiness this week, and I wish him the most enjoyable and peaceful time as he continues to inspire us all to strive for a better world.”
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) September 25, 2015
On behalf of New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio issued Pope Francis with an IDNYC card, the key to the city of New York for all city residents, making the pope one of 540,000 municipal ID cardholders.
“IDNYC is about creating inclusion, compassion and unity for our city. Few have spoken more clearly and eloquently on the importance of these values and the rights of all humanity to be treated with dignity and respect than Pope Francis,” said de Blasio. “IDNYC is a card that allows every New Yorker -- regardless of immigration or economic status -- to live safely in their communities, interact with government, and receive services. It is a vital equalizer and true symbol of the Pope’s message to protect the most vulnerable in our communities.”
— Bill de Blasio (@BilldeBlasio) September 25, 2015
In Washington, D.C., Pope Francis exchanged diplomatic gifts with President Barack Obama, who gave the pope a one-of-a-kind ascending dove sculpture, which is an international symbol of peace as well as the Christian symbol for the Holy Spirit, a White House official said.