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September 26, 2015

Pope Francis in Philadelphia, USA

NEW YORK (AP) —Pope Francis in Philadelphia, USA
 Latest developments in Pope Francis' visit to the United States. All times local:
9:40 a.m.

Pope Francis has arrived in Philadelphia to begin a visit that will include celebrating Mass for what organizers estimate will be more than 1 million people. #
His chartered American Airlines plane touched down Saturday morning after Francis spent four days in New York City and Washington.
He is being greeted by a Catholic high school band and local dignitaries.



Francis is headed first for the Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul, where he will celebrate Mass for about 1,200 people. He will later give a speech on religious freedom and immigration in front of Independence Hall and then join in the final night of the World Meeting of Families.
He will also visit a prison while in Philadelphia, before celebrating a Sunday Mass on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
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9:05 a.m.
Pope Francis has left New York City for Philadelphia, the last stop in his three-city visit to the United States.
Before taking off, the pope greeted nuns at Kennedy Airport. With the wind whipping, he took a small stumble as he ascended the stairs to a waiting jet. He waved to the crowd as the airplane taxied.
In Philadelphia, his itinerary includes Masses, prayer vigils and a visit to a prison. On Sunday, he'll celebrate the closing Mass for the World Meeting of Families, which is expected to draw hundreds of thousands of people.
In New York City, Francis spoke at the United Nations and celebrated Mass at Madison Square Garden.
His first stop was Washington, where he was met by President Barack Obama and spoke to Congress. He heads back to Rome on Sunday night.
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8:30 a.m.
Pope Francis has begun his trip to Philadelphia, the last stop on his U.S. trip.
The pope left Manhattan on Saturday morning for Kennedy Airport in a helicopter. He will fly to Philadelphia after a brief farewell from worshippers waiting to see him off.
Groups of Roman Catholic parishioners prayed together as they waited at JFK.
"Our Father..." was heard above the rumble of the American Airlines jet engines warming up for the flight to Philadelphia.
In keeping with Francis' efforts to bring religions closer, New Yorkers who came to say farewell to Francis included a Sikh in a white turban as well as representatives of other faiths.
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7:30 a.m.
Two Marine helicopters have taken off from New York's Kennedy airport to pick up Pope Francis in Manhattan and take him to the airport.
Francis is scheduled to leave New York for Philadelphia on Saturday morning.
Roman Catholic worshippers and church officials have gathered for a brief farewell on the JFK airport tarmac.
They include seven cloistered nuns from the Precious Blood Seminary in Brooklyn. Four of them are originally from Francis' native Argentina.
Francis arrived in New York on Thursday evening from Washington, D.C. His crowded New York itinerary included a speech to the United Nations General Assembly, a visit to the World Trade Center Memorial and Museum and a Mass at Madison Square Garden.
It is the pope's first visit to the United States.
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2:30 a.m.
After speeches to Congress and the United Nations aimed at world leaders, Pope Francis will embark on the segment of his American journey expected to be the most centered on ordinary Catholics: a Vatican-organized rally for the family that will culminate in an outdoor Mass for a million people.
Francis heads to Philadelphia on Saturday.
He will speak at Independence Hall, where the Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence and Constitution.
As he has done in New York and Washington, he will give his attention to both the elite and the disadvantaged, this time visiting inmates in Philadelphia's largest jail. On Saturday night, he will be serenaded by Aretha Franklin and others on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway at a festival celebrating families. He will return there Sunday for the Mass, his last major event before leaving for Rome.


.- Pope Francis told bishops Sunday that a widespread consumerism and desire to follow new fads has rendered youth fearful of commitments, and said that as pastors they must encourage youth to be brave in going against the tide.
He began his speech, however, with an impromptu reflection on the clergy sex abuse crisis, mentioning that he had met earlier with victims and their families. He said the victims “have become true heralds of hope and mercy. In humility, we owe each of them and their families an immense debt of gratitude … they made the light of christ shine on something so awful: the sexual abuse of minors.”
“I say this now because I just met with some victims of sexual abuse, and at that time I heard how they're being helped in a special way here in this archdiocese, by Archbishop Chaput, and I thought it was the right thing to do, to tell you where I was this morning.”
The Pope then continued with his prepared remarks, noting his joy at being able to reflect together with fellow bishops: “I am happy to be able to share these moments of pastoral reflection with you, amid the joyful celebrations for the World Meeting of Families,” he said Sept. 27 at the chapel of Philadelphia's St. Charles Borromeo Seminary.
“To Congress a couple days ago, I said we are living in a culture that pushes young people not to form families: some because they don’t have the material resources to realize a wedding, or a life together. But others just choose this because they think they're better off this way – but that's the temptation, to not lay a foundation, to not have a family. As pastors, we bishops are called to collect our energies and to rebuild enthusiasm for making families correspond ever more fully to the blessing of God which they are!”
“We need to invest our energies not so much in rehearsing the problems of the world around us and the merits of Christianity, but in extending a sincere invitation to young people to be brave and to opt for marriage and the family.”
Francis’ comments on his last day in the U.S. were addressed to bishops participating in the World Meeting of Families.
After spending three days in Cuba, the Pope arrived to Washington D.C. Sept. 23, where he met with president Barack Obama and addressed a joint-meeting of U.S. Congress. He then moved onto New York, where he spoke to the United Nations and met with school children in Harlem.
He met with the bishops before celebrating Mass to close the World Meeting of Families, and will board a plane to Rome later this evening.
In his speech to the bishops, Pope Francis said that despite current challenges, the family shouldn’t be viewed primarily as a cause for concern, but rather “the joyous confirmation of God’s blessing upon the masterpiece of creation.”
A key pastoral concern amid the constant changes of our time is to recognize the gift of the family, and be aware that both gratitude and appreciation ought to prevail over worries or complaints.
The family, he said,  “is the fundamental locus of the covenant between the Church and God’s creation. Without the family, not even the Church would exist. Nor could she be what she is called to be.”
However, the Pope noted that Christians are not immune to the changes of our time, and because of that “the unprecedented changes taking place in contemporary society, with their social, cultural – and now juridical – effects on family bonds” shouldn’t be disregarded.
While until recently the civil institution of marriage and the Christian sacrament were a shared notion seen as interrelated and mutually supportive, “this is no longer the case,” Francis observed.
Using the example of neighborhood stores and large supermarkets, the Pope said that formerly the situation was like the local stores, which had everything needed for both personal and family life, even if it wasn’t “cleverly displayed.”
“Business was done on the basis of trust, people knew one another, they were all neighbors. They trusted one another. They built up trust,” he said, noting that later the big supermarkets sprang up with large spaces and an endless selection of merchandise.
“The world seems to have become one of these great supermarkets; our culture has become more and more competitive. Business is no longer conducted on the basis of trust; others can no longer be trusted. There are no longer close personal relationships,” Francis said.
In a culture that seems to encourage people not to trust, the most important thing now appears to be following the latest trend, even in terms of religion, he continued.
Consumerism now determines what is important, he said. “Consuming relationships, consuming friendships, consuming religions, consuming, consuming… Whatever the cost or consequences. A consumption which does not favor bonding, a consumption which has little to do with human relationships,” adding that “joy is not something that can be 'consumed'.”
Social bonds, the Pope observed, have become a mere means for satisfying one’s own needs, rather than focusing on the other person, their lives, and their stories.
“This causes great harm,” he said, and diagnosed “a kind of impoverishment born of a widespread and radical sense of loneliness” as the root cause of many contemporary problems.
“Running after the latest fad, accumulating ‘friends’ on one of the social networks, we get caught up in what contemporary society has to offer. Loneliness with fear of commitment in a limitless effort to feel recognized.”
However, Pope Francis said that youth shouldn’t be condemned or pegged with blame for living and growing up in this type of society.
“Should they hear their pastors saying that ‘it was all better back then,’ ‘the world is falling apart and if things go on this way, who knows where we will end up?’” he asked.
“No, I do not think that this is the way,” he said, explaining that as shepherds, it is their responsibility to “seek out, to accompany, to lift up, to bind up the wounds of our time.”
As bishops, they must look at things “realistically, with the eyes of one who feels called to action, to pastoral conversion. The world today demands this conversion on our part.”
Rather than viewing the current situation as a mere indifference or “pure and simple selfishness” regarding marriage and the family, many youth have “have yielded to a form of unconscious acquiescence” inside a culture of discouragement, the Pope observed.
Francis explained that youth “are paralyzed when they encounter the beautiful, noble and truly necessary challenges which faith sets before them,” and often  put off marriage in order to wait for ideal conditions, “when everything can be perfect.”
“Meanwhile, life goes on, without really being lived to the full. For knowledge of life’s true pleasures only comes as the fruit of a long-term, generous investment of our intelligence, enthusiasm and passion.”
He added, off-the-cuff, that “In Buenos Aires many of the women were complaining, saying, 'I have a son who’s 30, 34, and he won't get married. I don’t know what to do!' I would tell them, 'Well, quit ironing his shirts!'”
“We need to give to the young people enthusiasm,” he told the bishops, “so they will take this worthwhile risk. Here too, we bishops need parrhesia!”
After giving a mock conversation between a bishop and a young person about “Why don’t you get married?” he said that bishops must “accompany them, and help them to mature, to make this decision to get married.”
Returning to his prepared remarks, the Pope said that “A Christianity which does little in practice, while incessantly explaining its teachings, is dangerously unbalanced. I would even say that it is stuck in a vicious circle.”
Rather, in a culture where concern for oneself is the overriding trend, it’s the pastor’s job to show that the “the Gospel of the family” is truly good news.
“We are not speaking about some romantic dream,” he said, adding that “the perseverance which is called for in having a family and raising it transforms the world and human history.”
Pastors must watch over the dreams, lives and growth of his flock, Francis said, explaining that this isn’t done by talking, but guiding. “Only one capable of standing in the midst of the flock can be watchful, not someone who is afraid of questions, contact, accompaniment.”
He stressed the importance of prayer in the life of a pastor, and questioned whether or not they are prepared to “waste time” with families, uplifting them in time of discouragement.
The Pope gave an extended and impromptu reflection on the office of bishops: “pray, and announce the Gospel – this always drew my attention about the beginning of the Church, because the widows and the orphans were not well taken care of, and the apostles couldn't handle them. And so they came up with the office of deacons, to deal with them! And the Holy Spirit inspired them, 'you have to build up deacons', and when Peter announces this decision, he says, 'now, we have chosen seven of you to be deacons, to take care of these problems, these situations.'”
From this institution of the diaconate, he said, the bishops are freed to pray. “From this we can expect two things: prayer, and preaching … What is the primary job of a bishop? To pray. To pray. The second task of a bishop, that goes with the first, is preaching. [Preaching] helps us. Dogmatic definitions help us – if not, you have to deal with Cardinal Mueller! But this helps us. It gives the definition of a bishop, and what his role is. He is a shepherd – he needs to shepherd, and proclaim, and take care of the sheep. To do that, he needs to pray and to preach. If there's time, he can get to the rest of what he needs to do.”
Returning to his prepared remarks he said that “By our own humble Christian apprenticeship in the familial virtues of God’s people, we will become more and more like fathers and mothers, and less like people who have simply learned to live without a family.”
“Our ideal is not to live without love!”  he said, explaining that a good pastor renounces the love of a family “in order to focus all his energies, and the grace of his particular vocation, on the evangelical blessing of the love of men and women who carry forward God’s plan of creation, beginning with those who are lost, abandoned, wounded, broken, downtrodden and deprived of their dignity.”
Jesus is the model for the mission of a pastor, who is called to imitate the Son’s love for the Father, he said, adding that “only God can authorize this, not our own presumption!”
Ministry must first of all deepen the bond between the Church and the family, the Pope said, otherwise “it becomes arid, and the human family will grow irremediably distant, by our own fault, from God’s joyful good news.”
Pope Francis closed by praying for a renewed closeness between the family and the Church.
The family, he said, “is our ally, our window to the world, and the evidence of an irrevocable blessing of God destined for all the children who in every age are born into this difficult yet beautiful creation which God has asked us to serve!” Pope Francis speaks at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia to bishops taking part in the World Meeting of Families, Sept. 27, 2015. Credit: EWTN

Latest developments in Pope Francis' visit to the United States. All times local:
8:45 p.m.
The hundreds of thousands who journeyed to Philadelphia to see Pope Francis have thinned to a smattering of people taking pictures, stopping to get food, or heading home.
Lines for regional commuter trains Sunday were down to a short 10-minute wait from the hours some spent clearing security to get onto the parkway, where the pope celebrated a final Mass for the World Meeting of Families, the worldwide Catholic gathering that brought him to the city.
Barricades that kept traffic off the streets were coming down and trash bags were already piling up for pickup. Still, among the silence was the occasional excited chatter of pilgrims leaving the city after catching a glimpse — or hoping to — of "the people's pope."
The 78-year-old pontiff spent six days in the U.S. after a four-day visit to Cuba.
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7:45 p.m.
Pope Francis' plane has taken off from Philadelphia as his 10-day trip to Cuba and the United States comes to a close.
The private American Airlines plane took off Sunday night hours after Francis celebrated Mass for hundreds of thousands of people in downtown Philadelphia.
The Mass capped a day that included his speaking with sex abuse survivors and jail inmates. It was the culmination of a trip that also featured addresses to Congress and the United Nations.
The 78-year-old spent six days with packed itineraries in Washington, New York and Philadelphia after a four-day visit to Cuba.
Francis announced Sunday night that the next World Meeting of Families will be in 2018 in Dublin. The event in Philadelphia this week was the original reason he came on the trip.
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6:40 p.m.
Pope Francis is expressing his gratitude to about 400 leaders of the World Meeting of Families, supporters and other volunteers who helped organize his trip to Philadelphia.
Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Dr. Jill Biden are among those at the airport sending Francis off as he prepares to board a plane to depart for Rome.
Francis spoke in English as he thanked church leaders and others in Washington and New York for their work to organize his trip there.
Francis said his "days with you have been brief but they have been days of great grace for me and, I pray, for you too."
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6:00 p.m.
Pope Francis is leaving the parkway where he celebrated Mass for hundreds of thousands of people, on his way to the airport after a 10-day trip to Cuba and the United States.
As he finished Mass, he made a request with a smile: "I ask you to pray for me. Don't forget."
He will meet privately before his flight to Rome with about 400 leaders of the World Meeting of Families, supporters and other volunteers who helped organize his trip to Philadelphia.
As people start leaving the Mass, crews are going around with waste carts emptying filled garbage and recycling cans. Hawkers are selling water, soda and papal merchandise.
Francis said in his homily at the Mass that everyone should be open to miracles of love for the sake of families around the world.
Pope Francis also asked the audience to take special care with children and grandchildren, a theme he has riffed on constantly throughout the tour and his ministry more broadly. He’s always emphasizing that wisdom must be passed down from generation to generation.
The audience was enraptured by the pope’s speech. He seems to really dislike being the high-altitude pontiff and has to fight his desire to go into local pastor mode. The fact that he went off-cuff at an event where many orthodox Catholics would have hoped for a big statement on abortion or gay marriage will be a let down for some.
After all, many faithful US Catholics have waited a long time for the pope to give them political support for this cause or that. I doubt Francis cares; the people who matter to him most will fill the pews, not the sanctuary, at tomorrow’s mass.

Families have a citizenship which is divine. The identity card they have is given to them by God. So that within the heart of the family, truth, goodness and beauty may truly grow.
Then a few gags:


Some of you might say “Of course, father, you speak like that because you’re not married!”
Families have the difficulties – families, we quarrel! And sometimes plates can fly. Children can bring headaches – and I won’t speak about mothers in law!

So great was his love. That he began to walk with humanity, with his people, until the right moment came and he made the highest expression of love: his own son.
And where did he send his son? To a palace? A city? No he sent him to a family. God sent him amid a family, in a family!
And he could do this because it was a family that had a truly open heart. The doors of their heart were open. Think of Mary – she couldn’t believe it! How can this happen. But when they explained it to her … she agreed. Think of Joseph – he finds himself in a surprising situation he doesn’t understand, and he accepts, he obeys.
You know what God loves most? To knock on the door of families and to find the families who love each other – families who bring up their children to grow and to move forward. Who create, who develop a society of truth, goodness and beauty
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5:55 p.m.
Church officials say the next World Meeting of Families will be held in Dublin, Ireland, in 2018.
Ireland is ground zero for the church's clergy sex abuse crisis outside of the United States. The overwhelmingly Catholic country recently legalized gay marriage.
Archbishop Eamon Martin, the Catholic primate for Ireland, says he is delighted to hear the news.
He says Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin was in Philadelphia with a delegation from Ireland to hear from Francis directly.
The World Meeting of Families was held in Philadelphia this week and was the original reason that Francis decided to come to the United States.
Francis capped a 10-day trip to Cuba and the United States by celebrating a Mass in front of hundreds of thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia Sunday.
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5:15 p.m.
Scores of priests, bishops and volunteer Eucharistic ministers are fanning out to administer communion to the throngs of people attending the papal Mass in Philadelphia.
Attendants with white and yellow umbrellas are next to those giving communion so parishioners can see where to navigate in the crowd.
A group of cloistered nuns at the suburban Monastery of St. Clare had put in extra shifts to help prepare for Pope Francis' visit, baking 100,000 communion hosts for the Mass.

Hundreds of thousands of people crammed into the area around the Benjamin Franklin Parkway on Sunday. Tens of thousands more who weren't able to make it through security before the Mass began either gave up and turned around or made their way to watch the event on one of several gigantic video screens dotting the city.
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4:45 p.m.
Pope Francis says everyone should be open to miracles of love for the sake of families around the world.
His remarks came during the homily of a Mass he is celebrating Sunday in front of hundreds of thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia. The event after a weekend dedicated to families caps a 10-day trip to Cuba and the United States.
He says that happiness and holiness are tied to little gestures, like those done by mothers and grandmothers, fathers and grandfathers, and children.
Francis originally came to the United States because of the World Meeting of Families held in Philadelphia this week.
Earlier Sunday, he visited with victims of sexual abuse, spoke to inmates at the city's largest jail, blessed a statue and kissed one baby after another from his Jeep Wrangler popemobile.
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4 p.m.
Pope Francis has begun celebrating Mass in front of hundreds of thousands of people in the final public event of his U.S. tour.
The Mass Sunday caps Francis' 10-day trip to Cuba, Washington, New York and Philadelphia.
Many reported waiting for hours to pass through security checkpoints to get to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway where the Mass is being held downtown.
Francis exited his popemobile at the foot of the Philadelphia Museum of Art as music by the Philadelphia Orchestra reached a crescendo.
Francis will depart Philadelphia around 8 p.m. to return to Rome.
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3:30 p.m.
Pope Francis has exited his popemobile to visit a "knot grotto" that is based on one of his favorite paintings and lets visitors acknowledge the challenges in their daily lives.
The installation built next to Philadelphia's Roman Catholic cathedral is inspired by a painting called "Mary, Undoer of Knots" that holds special meaning for the pope.
The artwork shows Mary untangling a long ribbon — a symbol for smoothing life's difficulties.
The painting hangs in a church in Augsburg, Germany, where then-Rev. Jorge Mario Bergoglio saw it while studying in the mid-1980s.
He brought back copies to Argentina, where it became a major source of devotion.
People were invited to write down their own problems on ribbons tied to the grotto. They were also encouraged to help others by loosening and removing a knot already in place.
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3:15 p.m.
Adoring fans are cheering, clapping and singing as Pope Francis starts the final public event of his 10-day trip to the United States and Cuba.
Francis is traveling in his white Jeep Wrangler popemobile along Philadelphia's Benjamin Franklin Parkway before celebrating a Mass that is expected to draw up to a million people or more.
Many have reported waiting for several hours to pass through security checkpoints.
An army of about 10,000 volunteers helping out with the Mass includes ushers, guides, choral singers and Eucharistic ministers who will pass out communion.
Earlier Sunday, he visited the largest jail in Philadelphia to speak with inmates and their families
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3 p.m.
Pope Francis has blessed a new statue honoring the relationship between Catholics and Jews.
Francis stopped at Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia on his way back to the city before celebrating Mass in front of a massive crowd Sunday afternoon.
The sculpture was unveiled Friday and commemorates the 50th anniversary of a document that urged stronger relations between the two religions. Francis was joined by his longtime friend, Argentinian Rabbi Abraham Skorka.
Francis is traveling downtown and will transfer to the popemobile for a procession along the parkway to the altar in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Up to a million people or more are expected to crowd into the area for the Mass, and many reported waiting for hours to pass through security checkpoints.
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2:50 p.m.
Pope Francis is preparing to depart a suburban Philadelphia seminary to make his way via a closed motorcade to the final act on his historic first trip to the United States.
Before celebrating an outdoor Mass on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Francis is scheduled to stop at Saint Joseph's University to bless a new statue honoring the relationship between Catholics and Jews.
He will then travel downtown and transfer to the popemobile for a procession along the parkway to the altar in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Up to a million people or more are expected to crowd into the area for the Mass, and many reported waiting for hours to pass through security checkpoints.
Earlier Sunday, he visited the largest jail in Philadelphia to speak with inmates and their families
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1:50 p.m.
Tens of thousands of people are enduring hourslong waits to pass through security checkpoints for the papal Mass in downtown Philadelphia.
Lines stretch for several blocks to enter the secure zone on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
Most pilgrims took the wait in stride, though some who grew impatient jumped over concrete barriers to get out of line and try their luck at other checkpoints.
Organizers expect 1 million people for the 4 p.m. Mass.
Officials have said the parkway itself can hold only about 250,000. But they say hundreds of thousands more will be able to watch the Mass on gigantic video screens set up on side streets and in other parts of the city.
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1:15 p.m.
Organizers have begun making adjustments to security checkpoints to ease wait times for people waiting in lines that stretch for several blocks.
One security checkpoint that had been reserved for pilgrims with tickets to the best seats for the papal Mass in downtown Philadelphia has been opened to the general public.
But wait times varied greatly, with some attendees reporting long waits behind thousands of people, while others sailed through different checkpoints.
A family who took the bus from Baltimore Sunday morning said they expected to wait as long as 90 minutes. Fifteen-year-old Matthew Stambaugh shrugged it off, saying, "it's worth it."
The 4 p.m. Mass is expected to draw more than 1 million people.
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12:50 p.m.
Pope Francis will visit a sculpture dedicated to the 50th anniversary of a document calling for a strong relationship between Catholics and Jews.
Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said Francis will see the sculpture commemorating the Nostra Aetate at Saint Joseph's University on his way back to the city before celebrating Mass in front of a massive crowd Sunday afternoon.
The sculpture was unveiled on Friday at a ceremony that included an address from Rabbi Abraham Skorka. Skorka is a longtime friend of the pope and Argentina's most famous rabbi.
The "Synagoga and Ecclesia in Our Time" statue was created by Philadelphia-based sculptor Joshua Koffman.
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Noon
Crowds are forming early on Philadelphia's Benjamin Franklin Parkway for another papal parade and an outdoor Mass, hours before they are set to begin.
Visitors are already packed in as tight in the front of the viewing section as they were for the start of closing festival Saturday of the World Meeting of Families.
And long backups are occurring at security checkpoints.
It's an early sign that the 4 p.m. Mass is likely to draw the biggest turnout of the pope's U.S. visit.
Philadelphia's mass transit agency reports increased ridership on special papal trains heading into the city. More than 500 buses carrying 26,000 people had arrived by 11 a.m., nearly half of the shuttles organizers expect for the Mass.
Security officials are urging visitors to get to the checkpoints as early as possible to avoid last-minute bottlenecks.
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After encouraging a group of prisoners to get their lives back on track, Pope Francis walked through the gym at Philadelphia's largest jail and shook the hands of each of the men and women individually.
The 100 inmates in blue uniforms remained in their seats Sunday until two stood up near the end to hug Francis. He also blessed an inmate in a wheelchair.
Francis thanked the inmates at the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility for the large wooden chair that they made for him, calling it beautiful.
He has criticized prison systems that only work to punish and humiliate prisoners, and he has denounced life prison terms and isolation as a form of torture.
Francis does not have any other scheduled events before a 4 p.m. Mass that organizers estimate will draw more than 1 million.
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Pope Francis \ Speeches

Pope Francis concludes visit to USA, and leaves for Rome

Pope Francis: Farewell Speech Philadelphia airport - RV
Pope Francis: Farewell Speech Philadelphia airport - RV
28/09/2015 01:00
Pope Francis concluded his visit to the United States of America with words of gratitude to the authorities and to the organisers of the World Meeting for Families, 2015, and a message of encouragement to families to strive for holiness.  

Please find below the Pope's farewell speech delivered, Sunday September 27th, at Philadelphia International Airport
My days with you have been brief. But they have been days of great grace for me and, I pray, for you too. Please know that as I prepare to leave, I do so with a heart full of gratitude and hope. I am grateful to all of you and to the many others who worked so hard to make my visit possible and to prepare for the World Meeting of Families. In a particular way I thank Archbishop Chaput and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, the civil authorities, the organizers, and all the many volunteers and benefactors who assisted in ways large and small.
I also thank the families who shared their witness during the meeting. It is not so easy to speak openly of one’s life journey! But their honesty and humility before the Lord and each of us showed the beauty of family life in all its richness and diversity. I pray that our days of prayer and reflection on the importance of the family for a healthy society will inspire families to continue to strive for holiness and to see the Church as their constant companion, whatever the challenges they may face. At the end of my visit, I would also like to thank all those who prepared for my stay in the Archdioceses of Washington and New York.
It was particularly moving for me to canonize Saint Junípero Serra, who reminds us all of our call to be missionary disciples, and I was also very moved to stand with my brothers and sisters of other religions at Ground Zero, that place which speaks so powerfully of the mystery of evil. Yet we know with certainty that evil never has the last word, and that, in God’s merciful plan, love and peace triumph over all.  Mr. Vice-President, I ask you to renew my gratitude to President Obama and to the Members of Congress, together with the assurance of my prayers for the American people.
This land has been blessed with tremendous gifts and opportunities. I pray that you may all be good and generous stewards of the human and material resources entrusted to you. I thank the Lord that I was able to witness the faith of God’s people in this country, as manifested in our moments of prayer together and evidenced in so many works of charity.
Jesus says in the Scriptures: “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me”. Your care for me and your generous welcome are a sign of your love for Jesus and your faithfulness to him. So too is your care for the poor, the sick, the homeless and the immigrant, your defense of life at every stage, and your concern for family life. In all of this, you recognize that Jesus is in your midst and that your care for one another is care for Jesus himself.
As I leave, I ask all of you, especially the volunteers and benefactors who assisted with the World Meeting of Families: do not let your enthusiasm for Jesus, his Church, our families, and the broader family of society run dry. May our days together bear fruit that will last, generosity and care for others that will endure! Just as we have received so much from God – gifts freely given us, and not of our own making – so let us freely give to others in return.
Dear friends, I embrace all of you in the Lord and I entrust you to the maternal care of Mary Immaculate, Patroness of the United States. I will pray for you and your families, and I ask you, please, to pray for me. May God bless you all. God bless America!
Please find below the Pope's farewell speech delivered, Sunday September 27th, at Philadelphia International Airport

Pope Francis in Philadelphia, USA
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