ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE - Pope Francis, en route home from his trip to three American cities, said New York City stood out for the "exuberant" reception he received there.

Overflowing and vocal crowds greeted Francis during his 40-hour New York tour which included stops at St. Patrick's Cathedral, Madison Square Garden, Central Park, the United Nations and Ground Zero.

"What surprised me was the warmth, the warmth of the people so lovable," Francis said Sunday night. "It was a beautiful thing and also different: Washington, the welcome was warm but more formal. New York was a bit exuberant. Philadelphia very demonstrative. Three different kinds of welcome."

Francis even invented a new Italian word to describe the exuberant reception he received in New York City: "stralimitata" roughly, "beyond all limits."

The pope said he impressed by the piety of Americans.

"I was very struck by this welcome but also by the religious ceremonies and also by the piety of the people ... You could see the people pray and this struck me a lot," he said.

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Francis also gave thanks there were no incidents during the trip.

"No provocations, no challenges," he said. "They were all well-behaved, normal. No insults, nothing bad."

With The Associated Press