Shea Phelan and Eva Knudsen
Pope Francis visited New York City on Thursday, September 24. He stopped by St. Patrick’s Cathedral for an evening prayer, and then went to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum for a multi-religious service. The Pope began his speech at the memorial by saying, “I feel many different emotions standing here at Ground Zero, where thousands of lives were taken in a senseless act of destruction.” Mr. Cesare, a history teacher at Foran, said, “Anytime a world leader visits a memorial it helps people realize the trauma others experience and that there are people that care.”
The Pope also took the time to meet guests that had paid for tickets. The city was more than delighted to have Pope Francis spending time there to enlighten their people. It was his first time in the United States and he was pleased with his visit. Julia Astram, a student at Foran High School, says, “It was really cool to have the Pope here and I wasn’t too surprised to see how humble he was.” She explained further how he drove around the city in a Fiat and not in a stretch limo, as expected. He also went for a morning stroll without his guards, which made them angry. Needless to say, the Pope is very modest.
While at Ground Zero, Pope Francis prayed at the site. He also met with local representatives inside the 9/11 Memorial Museum for a multi-religious meeting for peace. The peace meeting took place at the Foundation Hall inside the museum. During his speech, he mourned he thousands of lives lost on September 11th, 2001. Pope Francis also delivered to those that were present and several prayers were said at the memorial site.
While speaking, he touched on many different topics about the tragic day. Pope Francis said, “I feel many different emotions standing here at Ground Zero, where thousands of lives were taken in a senseless act of destruction. Here grief is palpable. The water we see flowing towards that empty pit reminds us of all those lives which fell prey to those who think that destruction, tearing down, is the only way to settle conflicts”
Seven years ago in the month of April, Pope Benedict XVI was the first Pope to visit ground zero. He prayed where the World Trade Center was once standing on April 20th, 2008. On the same day, Pope Benedict met with 24 selected guests to talk to about the grief of 9/11. Since his visit, the museum is now finished as well as the official memorial; this made new visiting places for Pope Francis to see.