Pope Francis was joined by leaders from various religious traditions in a historic Multireligious Meeting for Peace at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum on Friday, September 25, 2015.
“I feel many different emotions standing here at ground zero, where thousands of lives were taken in a senseless act of destruction," said Pope Francis. “Here grief is palpable."
Pope Francis arrived just before 11:15 a.m. and met with a group of relatives of some of the nearly 3,000 victims on the 9/11 Memorial and offered condolences and prayers for healing. Pope Francis was then welcomed into the museum’s foundation hall by Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, Archbishop of New York. Standing adjacent to the last column and with the slurry wall as his background, a symbol of this country’s resilience after 9/11, Pope Francis addressed the crowd with a prayer of remembrance for the victims of the September 11, 2001 and February 26, 1993 terror attacks.
Pope Francis said, "God of love, compassion and healing look on us, people of many different faiths and religious traditions, who gather today in this hallowed ground, the scene of unspeakable violence and pain, we ask you in your goodness to give eternal light and peace to all who died here: the heroic first responders: our firefighters, police officers, emergency service workers, and Port Authority personnel, along with all the innocent men and women who were victims of this tragedy simply because their work or service brought them here on September 11, 2001."
As part of the program, reflections and meditations were read by a group of selected religious leaders. The Young People’s Chorus of New York City performed the song “Let there be peace on Earth.”
Before leaving the Museum, the Pope viewed some inspirational artifacts within the museum's historical exhibition, including an intersecting steel column and crossbeam known as the Cross at Ground Zero.
After lunch, Pope Francis will head to Our Lady Queen of Angels School in east Harlem where he will meet schoolchildren. He will then proceed through Central Park before conducting mass at Madison Square Garden. On Saturday, the Pope is scheduled to depart from NYC for Philadelphia.
By Hannah Coffman, Digital Content Manager