New York and Fordham Await Papal Visit


Father McShane and members of the University’s football team recorded a greeting, welcoming Francis to New York.


Fifty years after the first papal visit to the United States, New York has begun preparing for the current pontiff’s visit next month. In anticipation of Pope Francis’ trip this September, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York has sent out an open invitation on their website to anyone who wishes to “welcome [Pope Francis] and share a message of charity” using videos, photos or text. Amongst the many who responded to the invitation are movie stars, presidential-hopefuls and professional athletes, though the majority of messages come from average Americans from all across the country.

Fordham University’s president Fr. Joseph McShane – joined by members of our football team – submitted a short video to celebrate the Pope’s arrival in New York. The project has become a moving mosaic of this country, with participants of diverse religious, ethnic and linguistic backgrounds coming together to welcome the first pope born in the Americas.

All of the celebration and excitement serves to accentuate the message that Pope Francis is coming to New York to deliver. His latest encyclical letter, “Laudato Si” is critical of contemporary society’s tendency to mistreat the environment at the expense of those who our economy has forgotten – those without food security, adequate housing, and who are often most dramatically affected by natural disasters. Francis, who eschewed the use of a car during his time as Archbishop of Buenos Aires in favor of public transportation, urgently appeals for “every person living on this planet” to end environmental degradation and work together to take greater care of our “common home.”

Drawing on his background as a chemist and the abundance of literature, scientific and spiritual, already written on the subject, the Pope calls for an acknowledgement of the “human origins of the ecological crisis,” as well as concrete changes on both the personal level and the global level to work towards a remedy. A piece filled with as much hope as it is criticism, this encyclical shows that the Pope will have much to say when he addresses the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 25, as the international organization meets to discuss sustainable development and climate change.

Pope Francis’ trip to the United States will also include an address to Congress in Washington, DC, as well as a visit to Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families. While in New York, he will attend a Vespers service in St. Patrick’s Cathedral the evening before his assembly with the UN the next morning. Later that day, the Pope will hold a multi-religious ceremony at Ground Zero, visit a school in Harlem and celebrate Mass at Madison Square Garden before departing for Philadelphia.

Here is Pope Francis’ official itinerary for the duration of his trip to New York City

  • Sept. 24 at approx. 4 p.m. — Arrival at JFK Airport from Andrews Air Force Base
  • Sept. 24 at 6:45 — Evening Vespers at St. Patrick’s Cathedral
  • Sept. 25 at 8:30 a.m. — Address to United Nations General Assembly
  • Sept. 25 at 11:30 a.m. — Interfaith Service at 9/11 Memorial Museum and World Trade Center
  • Sept. 25 at 4 p.m. — Visit to Our Lady Queen of Angels school in East Harlem
  • Sept. 25 at 6 p.m. — Mass at Madison Square Garden
  • Sept. 26 at approx. 8:40 a.m. — Departure from JFK to Philadelphia International Airport