In a speech nearly entirely delivered in his native Spanish, standing outside the world’s longest standing symbol of religious tolerance, Pope Francis late today urged all people of all religions to respect all faiths and he urged an embracing of immigrants. He said globalization is good if it brings us together in a way that does not require uniformity. On immigration, directly speaking to Hispanics, he said don’t be ashamed of your traditions, but he added there is also the responsibility to contribute as those who came before. The Pope was enthusiastically received by those on the Mall.
Pope Francis is expected here in a few minutes. Near capacity crowd on them mall. A mix of sun and clouds and a gusty wind, but warm.
There are love u Pope Francis signs in windows. People are at their windows or on the deck at the National Museum of American Jewish History.
Mayoral Candidate Jim Kenney is here along with other civic leaders, Gov. Wolf, Lt. Gov. Stack, Mayor Nutter, City Council President Darrell Clarke, Cong. Bob Brady, leaders of churches of other faiths, Senators Toomey and Casey and U.S. Interior Secretary Jewell.
The Pope will briefly parade through the crowd before blessing a cross and a then address Philadelphia and the world about religious liberty and immigration.
The lawn of Independence Mall is filling in from Independence Hall to the National Constitution Center. Pope Francis is expected here in the 4 o’clock hour.
Speakers,artists and musicians are addressing or entertaining the gathered. The Rowan University Vietnamese Fan Dancers are among them.
A very patient, polite and down right friendly crowd awaits Pope Francis at Independence Hall. They watched the Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul on the jumbotrons here on the Mall. I talked with some of the crowd and some common themes emerged. They see in The Holy Father a good man, who cares for the poor and the planet and for people of all faiths and nations. They see in him, Hope. Religious freedom and immigration are expected to be his central themes here later this afternoon.
The Pope has left International Airport. The crowd is sizeable here in Old City 6 hours before his Independence Hall arrival. A very upbeat crowd, cheering every chance. Some chanting Mejico, Mejico, Mejico, as folks from dozens if not more than 100 nations are present.