In his first visit to New York City, the center of global finance and capitalism, Pope Francis used his remarks on Thursday evening to encourage the hundreds of clergy members, brothers and nuns gathered in St. Patrick’s Cathedral to live humbly and resist the temptation to treat their ministries as businesses, with success measured strictly by the bottom line.
“We can get caught up measuring the value of our apostolic works by the standards of efficiency, good management and outward success which govern the business world,” he told them in Spanish. Similarly, he said, they should guard against surrounding themselves with worldly comforts, as that can separate them from the poor they are intended to serve.
“Rest is needed, as are moments of leisure and self-enrichment, but we need to learn how to rest in a way that deepens our desire to serve with generosity,” he said.
They were pointed, if fatherly, remarks that echoed the themes he has stressed in his papacy but ones that resonated all the more in a newly renovated cathedral surrounded by the luxurious shops of Fifth Avenue.
Francis arrived in the city on Thursday, his plane touching down at Kennedy International Airport shortly after 5 p.m. to start the second leg of his six-day visit to the United States.
Several schoolchildren greeted the pontiff as he walked off the plane. He chatted amiably, giving each child a pat on the head. He laughed when he was handed a bobblehead version of himself before taking a short helicopter ride to Manhattan, where the streets were lined with adoring crowds.
Francis changed cars from his modest Fiat to the widely recognized popemobile for a slow drive down Fifth Avenue, in which he was accompanied by Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, the archbishop of New York. Dressed in his white vestments, the pope smiled widely and waved as people scrambled to capture the moment on their smartphones, chanting in Spanish “Francisco, Francisco.”
He was greeted at the cathedral by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio, who seemed to enjoy an unusual moment of bonhomie as they waited for Francis, as well as Senator Chuck Schumer.
SOURCE: MARC SANTORA and SHARON OTTERMAN
The New York Times