The Latest: Pope Francis wraps up first day in Philadelphia

AP News
|
Posted: Sep 26, 2015 10:32 PM
The Latest: Pope Francis wraps up first day in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Latest developments in Pope Francis' visit to the United States. All times local:

9:45 p.m.

Pope Francis has wrapped up his first day in Philadelphia after celebrating Mass, giving a speech on religious freedom and attending an event for Catholic families.

Francis left the stage of the World Meeting of Families on Saturday night after hearing stories from six families around the world. He called families a "factory of hope."

Before leaving, Francis asked everyone to attend Mass Sunday. Organizers estimate more than 1 million people will attend the Mass on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

Francis also painted the final stroke on a mural that will hang in Philadelphia in honor of the World Meeting of Families. The event was Francis' original reason for coming to the U.S.

He will alo speak to a group of clergy Sunday and visit a prison before ending a six-day visit to the U.S.

____

9:30 p.m.

Pope Francis says families are a "factory of hope" after he heard stories from families from around the world at a Philadelphia festival.

Francis gave an off-the-cuff monologue in Spanish after hearing from six families from the U.S., Australia, Ukraine, Jordan, Nigeria, and his homeland of Argentina at the World Meeting of Families on Saturday.

He called for families to be cared for and protected — particularly children and the elderly.

The families told Francis about their joys and struggles, in between musical performances from acts including The Fray and Aretha Franklin.

Francis will celebrate an outdoor Mass on Sunday, speak to a group of clergy and visit a prison before ending a six-day visit to the U.S.

___

8:45 p.m.

Church officials say they don't have an estimate of how many people turned out to see Pope Francis during the closing festival of the World Meeting of Families.

The Secret Service had estimated the secured festival space on Philadelphia's Benjamin Franklin Parkway could fit about a quarter-million people. But there were gaps along sidewalks at the height of attendance Saturday night. Some people, however, remained on side streets and outside the security area.

Train ridership into Philadelphia was much lower than expected. The main commuter rail agency said only a little more than half of the 53,000 who bought passes used them.

Church officials had estimated up to 750,000 could attend the festival. They have always predicted the biggest crowd, of a million or more, would attend the pope's outdoor celebration of Mass on Sunday.

____

8 p.m.

Seated on stage, Pope Francis is hearing from families from around the world and listening to musical performances at a festival hosted by the worldwide Catholic gathering that brought him to Philadelphia.

The pope is attending the World Meeting of Families festival Saturday, where he is meeting with families from the U.S., Australia, Ukraine, Jordan, Nigeria, and his homeland of Argentina.

An engaged Australian couple, Camillus O'Kane and Kelly Walsh, told the pope they are concerned about divorce and the push to change the definition of legal marriage.

The festival includes musical performances from Andrea Bocelli, Aretha Franklin and others. Actor Mark Wahlberg is the MC.

Francis will celebrate an outdoor Mass on the parkway Sunday in ending his first-ever U.S. trip.

___

7:10 p.m.

Pope Francis is riding in his white Jeep Wrangler popemobile in a parade around Philadelphia's City Hall and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

Francis is on his way to a World Meeting of Families festival Saturday.

Thousands lined the parade route with crowds of five- to 10-spectators deep hoping to catch a glimpse of the pontiff.

The World Meeting of Families festival is being hosted by actor Mark Wahlberg and includes musical performances from Andrea Bocelli, Aretha Franklin, the Philadelphia Orchestra and others.

On Sunday, Francis will celebrate Mass for what organizers estimate will be more than 1 million people before ending his first-ever trip to the U.S. that included visits to Washington, D.C., and New York.

___

6:25 p.m.

Restaurant owners across Philadelphia are complaining that heavy security from Pope Francis' visit scared off their customers.

Stephen Starr operates more than 20 restaurants in the city. He told the Philadelphia Inquirer the slowdown has been so bad that "this affected business worse than Hurricane Sandy."

The website Open Table shows reservations are readily available at prime times Saturday at even the most popular spots.

Organizers have long said the World Meeting of Families that drew the pope to Philadelphia would be an economic boon to the city. But as the event drew closer, city officials were criticized for issuing dire warnings of travel difficulties and service shutdowns.

Schools and many businesses closed, and many residents left town in the days leading up to Francis' arrival.

Organizers still expect Saturday night's concert headlined by Aretha Franklin to attract hundreds of thousands, and they say more than a million will watch Francis celebrate Mass on Sunday

___

6:10 p.m.

Crowds along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway have begun to swell in advance of Pope Francis' appearance at a Vatican-sponsored "Festival of Families" Saturday night.

Pilgrims waited up to 45 minutes to clear security checkpoints late Saturday afternoon, but described the process as orderly. Crowds up to five deep lined the papal parade route.

At 6:45 p.m., Francis is scheduled to travel the length of the Parkway from the Philadelphia Museum of Art and City Hall and back in his open-air popemobile, a 2-mile loop. The festival, featuring Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli, "Queen of Soul" Aretha Franklin and other entertainers, is set to start around 7:30 p.m.

Two boys tossed a small green-and-black football. Another group of four children swatted a blowup ball, nearly hitting a nun who tipped it back to them.

Jay Berryman was in a group of 160 from North Little Rock, Arkansas. He noticed a change in mood as the pope's visit neared.

"Everyone's getting nervous," he said.

5:15 p.m.

Pope Francis says that America's immigrant community should not to be discouraged by hardships and should be responsible citizens.

Francis delivered a speech on religious freedom and immigration in front of about 40,000 people at Independence Hall Saturday.

He implored the immigrants in the crowd to be proud of their heritage and to never be ashamed of their traditions.

Francis also said Americans should avoid repeating past mistakes and that people of all faiths should join together to call for respect and dignity of others.

As he finished his speech, some among the many immigrant groups in the crowd shouted, "Francisco! Francisco! Francisco!"

After a break, Francis will take part in a World Meeting of Families festival Saturday night.

___

4:50 p.m.

Pope Francis says that Americans need to remember history to avoid repeating past mistakes and that people of all faiths should join together to call for respect and dignity of others.

Francis spoke in front of about 40,000 people Saturday in front of Independence Hall. He says visiting the area where the country was born was one of the highlights of his visit.

He also says that religious liberty means people don't have to leave their religious beliefs at home to be part of public life.

After a break, Francis will take part in a World Meeting of Families festival Saturday night.

He will celebrate an outdoor Mass on Sunday for what organizers estimate will be more than 1 million people.

___

4:45 p.m.

After emerging from Independence Hall to "Fanfare for the Common Man," Pope Francis is giving a speech on religious freedom and immigration from the lectern used by President Abraham Lincoln when he delivered the Gettysburg Address.

About 40,000 people are watching the speech Saturday on Independence Mall, many of whom have been waiting since early in the morning.

Shouts of "il papa" erupted from the crowd. Thousands of others are watching the speech from large TV screens around the city.

Francis arrived on the mall in his white Jeep Wrangler popemobile, waving to crowds and kissing babies as he drove.

Following the speech, he will join a World Meeting of Families concert and on Sunday will celebrate Mass for what organizers estimate will be more than 1 million people.

___

4:35 p.m.

Pope Francis has blessed a 5-foot wooden cross that is especially important to Hispanics as he prepares to give a speech on religious freedom and immigration in Philadelphia.

Francis blessed the Cross of the Encuentros Saturday afternoon after arriving at Independence Mall for the speech. A family of seven that came to the United States from Mexico presented the cross to Francis.

Encuentros is the Spanish word for meetings or encounters. Catholic officials say the cross will be taken to dioceses across the country as a symbol of an ongoing national pastoral movement called Encuentro, which has spurred Hispanic ministry in the country.

The movement includes a three-year process of missionary activity, consultation, leadership development and pastoral discernment.

___

4:25 p.m.

The crowd is erupting as Pope Francis arrives at Independence Mall in his white popemobile for a speech on religious freedom and immigration.

Francis waved as he was driving along Market Street in Philadelphia in the open, converted Jeep Wrangler.

Bodyguards passed one baby after another to Francis so he could kiss their foreheads. A police officer handed the pope a boy in a Batman shirt; another baby was wearing a tiny peaked hat similar to the pope's iconic mitre.

Francis will give the speech from the lectern used by President Abraham Lincoln when he delivered the Gettysburg Address.

In a speech to Congress this week, Francis implored lawmakers to show compassion to immigrants.

___

3:55 p.m.

Pope Francis and his papal motorcade have left the suburban seminary where he is staying and is riding through the streets of Philadelphia toward Independence Hall.

Francis is scheduled to give a speech late Saturday afternoon about religious freedom and immigration at the site where the Constitution and Declaration of Independence were signed. About 40,000 attendees are expected at the ticketed event.

But first, Francis will return to the downtown cathedral where he celebrated Mass earlier in the day and transfer to the popemobile for the final 1 1/2 miles to the historic neighborhood.

Following the speech, he will join the final event of the World Meeting of Families. It will be hosted by actor Mark Wahlberg and will include performances from Andrea Bocelli, Aretha Franklin, the Philadelphia Orchestra and others.

___

3:30 p.m.

Pennsylvania and New Jersey transit agencies say train ridership to see the pope in Philadelphia has been lower than expected.

As a result, some schedules have been adjusted.

The seven-lane Benjamin Franklin Bridge between New Jersey and Philadelphia is closed to all but pedestrians and emergency vehicles. But pedestrian traffic has been light.

College student Christina Carabaho of Williamstown, New Jersey, and her family walked the nearly 2-mile bridge to save the expense of parking and taking a ferry. Her only complaint: She wore boots instead of sneakers.

Heading into the papal weekend, there had been fears some visitors were scared away by all the security and travel restrictions.

___

2:25 p.m.

Pope Francis is resting up at the suburban seminary where he is staying before restarting a packed itinerary on his first day in Philadelphia.

Francis is scheduled to return to the cathedral where he celebrated Mass Saturday morning and transfer to the popemobile for a mile-and-a-half journey through downtown.

He will give a late-afternoon speech focusing on religious freedom and immigration at Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were signed.

A festive night follows, with a concert featuring Aretha Franklin, Andrea Bocelli, the Philadelphia Orchestra and others. The event hosted by Mark Wahlberg caps the World Meeting of Families, which drew Francis to the United States for the first time.

On Sunday, an estimated 1 million people are expected to attend a public Mass that Francis will celebrate.

___

12:55 p.m.

Pope Francis has been serenaded by a group of about 150 seminarians after arriving at the suburban seminary where he will stay while visiting Philadelphia.

The seminarians also sang "Happy Birthday" to Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput, who turned 71 Saturday.

Francis will spend some time resting at the St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Lower Merion before giving a speech on religious freedom and immigration in front of Independence Hall.

He will then be part of a parade along the parkway where a festival will be held for the final night of the World Meeting of Families.

The final event will be hosted by actor Mark Wahlberg and include performances from Andrea Bocelli, Aretha Franklin, the Philadelphia Orchestra and others.

On Sunday, Francis will celebrate Mass for what organizers estimate will be more than 1 million people.

___

12:35 p.m.

Fifty members of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas were on hand to hear Pope Francis call for the church to value the contribution of women.

The nuns received tickets to Saturday's Mass at the main cathedral in downtown Philadelphia.

He celebrated Mass in front of about 1,600 people.

Francis settled a controversy in April over a three-year Vatican investigation into the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, which the sisters are part of.

The umbrella group for women's religious orders had been accused of straying from church teaching.

Francis' progressive agenda parallels their views on helping the poor and immigrants, preserving life and ending the death penalty.

Sister Catherine Darcy, of Merion, Pennsylvania, says this is a special moment for the Catholic church and that they have felt strong support from Francis.

___

12:15 p.m.

Pope Francis has finished celebrating a Mass, stopping to bless children in wheelchairs before leaving the cathedral in downtown Philadelphia.

Francis walked through a chapel adjacent to the main room in the cathedral on Saturday to greet ill and disabled parishioners, along with other visitors. He blessed the children and gave them a kiss on the head.

Francis delivered a homily in Spanish in front of about 1,600 people. He says the future of the church depends on an increased role for the laity and valuing the "immense contribution" of women.

He will spend a few hours at a seminary just outside of the city before giving a speech Saturday afternoon on religious freedom and immigration.

___

Noon

The former Archbishop of Philadelphia who retired in 2011 amid a scandal over clergy sex abuse is celebrating Mass with Pope Francis.

Cardinal Justin Rigali joined Francis and other bishops at the Mass Saturday on the pope's first stop in Philadelphia.

Rigali's successor, Archbishop Charles Chaput, also was on the altar in front of about 1,600 people at the main cathedral in downtown Philadelphia.

Rigali retired to the Diocese of Knoxville, Tennessee, months after a grand jury accused the Philadelphia archdiocese of sheltering more than three dozen credibly accused priests and lying about it to victims and others.

Later Saturday, Francis will give a speech on religious freedom and immigration and then join in the final night of the World Meeting of Families.

___

This story has been clarified to show that Rigali is the former archbishop, but remains a cardinal.

___

11:10 a.m.

Pope Francis says the future of the church depends on an increased role for the laity and on valuing the "immense contribution" of women.

Francis delivered a homily in Spanish Saturday while celebrating Mass in front of about 1,600 people at the main cathedral in downtown Philadelphia.

Francis has repeatedly said women should have a greater role in church leadership, although he has rejected the idea of ordaining women.

By touching on the issue, Francis seemed intent on healing one of the major rifts in American Catholicism that has alienated many from the church.

Later Saturday, he will give a speech on religious freedom and immigration and then join in the final night of the World Meeting of Families.

On Sunday, he will celebrate Mass for what organizers estimate will be more than 1 million people.

___

10:45 a.m.

Pope Francis is celebrating Mass in front of 1,600 people at Philadelphia's main Catholic cathedral.

Francis walked down the aisle of the church holding a large staff with a crucifix on top while a choir sang.

Francis arrived at the Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul Saturday morning in his black Fiat after landing in Philadelphia from New York.

Pope John Paul II spoke at the cathedral in 1979, the only other papal visit to Philadelphia.

Later Saturday, he will give a speech at Independence Hall and then join in the final night of the World Meeting of Families. On Sunday, he will celebrate Mass for an estimated 1 million people.

___

10:20 a.m.

Pope Francis is set to celebrate Mass in front of 1,600 people at Philadelphia's main Catholic cathedral.

Francis pulled up in front of the Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul Saturday morning in his black Fiat after landing in Philadelphia from New York.

He was greeted at the steps by former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett and his wife. Corbett originally invited Francis to Philadelphia.

Before going inside, Francis twice turned around to wave to the hundreds of cheering people standing outside of the cathedral.

Pope John Paul II spoke at the cathedral in 1979, the only other papal visit to Philadelphia.

Later on Saturday, Francis will give a speech on religious freedom and immigration and then join in the final night of the World Meeting of Families.

___

10 a.m.

Pope Francis has left Philadelphia's airport and is headed to its main Catholic cathedral to celebrate Mass for about 1,600 people.

Among those greeting Francis Saturday was a former Philadelphia police officer wounded in the line of duty seven years ago and his family. Richard Bowes' daughters presented flowers to Francis and he hugged the two girls and Bowes' son.

Francis also got out of his black Fiat to bless a 10-year-old boy in a wheelchair on the tarmac, kissing him on the forehead.

A local Catholic high school band played, including the theme song from the Philadelphia-set movie "Rocky."

Later on Saturday, he will give a speech at Independence Hall and then join in the final night of the World Meeting of Families. On Sunday, he will celebrate Mass for hundreds of thousands.

___

This story has been corrected to show that Francis blessed a boy, not a man, at the airport.

___

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.

___

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.

___

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.

___

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.

___

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.