After a whirlwind tour of Washington over the past two days, which included a White House welcoming ceremony, a parade through D.C., and the first papal address to Congress, Pope Francis flew to New York on Thursday and headed straight to St. Patrick’s Cathedral to lead evening prayers. Hundreds of believers lined the streets to welcome the Holy Father en route to vespers. Many in the crowd were from Argentina, like Pope Francis, and they passed the time by singing songs in Spanish. Among the group on Fifth Avenue near 48th Street, there was a good deal of confusion about what direction the pope was coming from. Eventually the Popemobile passed by about a block away, but people were excited to get even a quick glimpse of the pontiff.
Of course, there were also protesters from across the political spectrum, and vendors peddling various types of pope merchandise. That didn’t really fit with Pope Francis’s remarks inside the cathedral, in which he warned Catholics against thinking that “surrounding ourselves with worldly comforts will help us serve better.” But hey, what’s a visit to New York without some unnecessary souvenirs?