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NewsPope Francis Visit

Pope Francis to be welcomed at Kennedy Airport by Mayor Bill de Blasio

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio at

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio at Bronx Latin School on Sept. 16, 2015. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Andrew Burton

Mayor Bill de Blasio will welcome Pope Francis in person at Kennedy Airport on Thursday afternoon and attend nearly all public events set for the pontiff during his first-ever visit to New York City, according to a copy of the mayor's schedule provided Tuesday to Newsday.

De Blasio will also greet the pope on the steps of St. Patrick's Cathedral later Thursday and attend evening prayers there with him.

"Pope Francis' message of compassion and inclusion resonates with those of all faiths, and his visit will be an unforgettable moment for New Yorkers throughout the city," the mayor said in a statement Tuesday, adding that he is "honored and humbled" to be welcoming Francis.

On Friday, the pope's only full day in the city, de Blasio will attend his remarks at the United Nations General Assembly, his interfaith service at the Sept. 11 Memorial and Museum, his visit to an East Harlem Catholic school and his Mass at Madison Square Garden.

Francis also has a procession through Central Park -- which de Blasio's office helped to organize but which the mayor will not participate in.

De Blasio said Monday that he is "absolutely and humbly looking forward" to the opportunity to personally meet Pope Francis, but joked that the pontiff won't have time to dine with him.


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