Pope Francis arrived at the United Nations on Friday for a highly anticipated address to world leaders that was expected to touch on peace, the plight of refugees and the scourge of poverty.
On his first full day in New York, the pope also planned to lead a prayer service at the Sept. 11 memorial, meet schoolchildren in Harlem, greet as many as 80,000 people in Central Park and celebrate Mass at Madison Square Garden.
Francis was to address the U.N. General Assembly, the largest gathering of world dignitaries in any year. He was greeted on arrival by Ban Ki-moon, the secretary-general. The pope was also expected to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Arriving at U.N. headquarters on the East Side of Manhattan, Francis blessed the U.N. staff and thanked them for working toward a “united human family.”
“You worry about the future of the planet, and what kind of a world we will leave for future generations,” he said in English. “But today, and every day, I would ask each of you, whatever your capacity, to care for one another. Be close to one another. Respect one another.”