Pope Francis' visit to New York City will take him from the heights of world diplomacy at the United Nations to the streets of East Harlem, meeting diplomats and relatives of the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack as well as schoolchildren and day laborers.

The pope's itinerary for the September visit, released Tuesday after months of preparation, will include stops at the storied St. Patrick's Cathedral, a Catholic grammar school and Madison Square Garden, where he will celebrate Mass to conclude his tour of the city.

He also is to deliver a speech at the General Assembly of the United Nations and visit the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.

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"Never did I think I would have the honor of hosting the successor to St. Peter," Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of the Archdiocese of New York, told reporters at St. Patrick's. "I'm a bit awed, a little nervous."

The cathedral is the first stop on the pope's itinerary after he arrives at Kennedy Airport on Sept. 24, a Thursday. There, he will take part in vespers, or evening prayers, scheduled at 6:45 p.m.

 

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Focus on the marginalized

Elements of the trip here highlight a hallmark of Francis' still-fresh papacy, church officials said -- his devotion to the poor, the marginalized and the forgotten.

The New York stop is sandwiched between visits to Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia. The latter, where the World Meeting of Families is being held, is the focal point and the original reason for the pope's first trip to the United States.

Francis specifically requested to visit an inner-city Catholic school and a Catholic Charities site. That will be accomplished by traveling to Our Lady Queen of Angels school on East 112th Street, which houses both.

After meeting with students and teachers, he will meet with about 150 immigrants and refugees, said Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, executive director of Catholic Charities for the archdiocese.

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They will include day laborers, refugees fleeing persecution in places such as Iraq and Africa, and unaccompanied minors from Central America who entered the country illegally, many of them fleeing poverty and violence in their home countries.

Francis will receive gifts from the immigrants, pray with them, bless them and talk with them informally, Sullivan said.

The pope's trip should have a major impact on the fastest-growing group of Catholics in the United States: Latinos. He likely will speak in Spanish during large portions of his addresses, Dolan said.

Francis' feeling about his own English-language proficiency is "the only nervousness I detected in the Holy Father" regarding the trip, Dolan said. "He is real shy about his English."

 

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Sept. 11 remembrance

The pope plans to extend his reach beyond Catholics and other Christians. At the Sept. 11 memorial, he will take part in a multireligious service, according to details released by the Vatican, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Archdiocese of New York.

"Pope Francis has expressed the importance of preserving the living memory of others," said Joe Daniels, president of the Sept. 11 memorial. "For many around the world, including those who experienced 9/11, there is no more important a place for that kind of reflection than the memorial and museum."

The pope's visit is "another powerful example of the significance global leaders are placing on coming to this sacred ground," he said.

The public will have a chance to see the pope in person, church officials said, but they are not yet certain of those details. One motorcade is planned, and another may be added.

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Full itinerary

Francis' trip in the United States starts when he flies from Cuba to Washington, D.C., on Sept. 22, arriving in the nation's capital at 4 p.m.

The next morning, he visits the White House to meet with President Barack Obama. Later, he will celebrate Mass at 4:15 p.m. at Catholic University of America to canonize Junipero Serra, an 18th-century missionary in California.

On the morning of Sept. 24, he will address a joint session of Congress -- the first pope to do so. Francis also will visit immigrants while in Washington.

After arriving in New York that afternoon, he is slated to be in the city for less than 40 hours before departing Sept. 26 for Philadelphia.

In the City of Brotherly Love, Francis will attend an event on Independence Mall, visit inmates at a prison, attend the World Meeting of Families, and -- on Sunday, Sept. 27 -- celebrate an outdoor Mass on Benjamin Franklin Parkway that is expected to attract more than 1 million people. He is scheduled to depart for Rome that evening.