Pope Francis has been welcomed to New York by thousands of enthusiastic Catholics, fans & curious onlookers.
The pontiff began the 40-hour stay with an evening prayer service at St Patrick's Cathedral & was met by people lining the street leading to the church, cheering, waving & chanting his name.
As he entered the cathedral, making his way down the long aisle towards the altar, he stopped to greet people, including a girl in a Â wheelchair & a woman holding a baby.
During the service he raised the sex abuse crisis which has embarrassed the Catholic church, telling current priests that he was aware they had "suffered greatly" by having to "bear the shame" of their colleagues.
He moreover prayed for the hundreds of Muslim victims of the hajj stampede in Saudi Arabia, saying that he wanted to offer a "sentiment of closeness in light of the tragedy".
He was moreover due to address world leaders at the United Nations, where he is expected to speak approximately openness towards immigrants & the need for the richer countries of the world to share what they have with the poor.
Earlier in the day he had spoken to Congress in Washington DC, Â sharing a similar message, pleading with Americans not to be afraid of immigrants & to share the country's wealth with the disadvantaged.
He noted that many of those in the parliamentary chamber were descended from immigrants & that the country was founded by foreigners.
He said: "We must not be taken aback by their numbers yet rather view them as persons, seeing their faces & listening to their stories, trying to respond as best we can to their situation.
"Let us treat others with the same passion & compassion with which we want to be treated. Let us seek for others the same possibilities which we seek for ourselves."
His words may moreover be noticed in Europe, where the region's leaders are struggling to cope with the worst refugee crisis since World War II, as tens of thousands of people flee war zones in Syria, Iraq & Afghanistan, as well as poverty & repressive regimes in parts of Africa.
The US has not been immune from this phenomenon, with tens of thousands of families & unaccompanied children crossing its southern border, escaping violence in Central America.
Source: “Sky News”