Pope Francis leads mass at Madison Square Garden

- Pope Francis concluded his jam-packed day in New York with a Catholic mass in Madison Square Garden attended by tens of thousands of people. As the pope led the mass, many recited along with him. Before the mass started, Francis rode around the famous arena in a "mini" popemobile -- a white gold cart -- and waved to the cheering crowd. People handed him flowers and other gifts. He then blessed some children and began the mass.

The pope sat on a simple wooden chair made for him by immigrant laborers at Don Bosco Workers in Port Chester, New York. He then gave the homily at the mass. "We are in Madison Square Garden, a place synonymous with this city," he said, according to a translation released by the Vatican. "This is the site of important athletic, artistic and musical events attracting people not only from this city, but from the whole world."

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"Living in a big city is not always easy. A multicultural context presents many complex challenges. Yet big cities are a reminder of the hidden riches present in our world: in the diversity of its cultures, traditions and historical experiences," Francis said. "In the variety of its languages, costumes and cuisine. Big cities bring together all the different ways which we human beings have discovered to express the meaning of life, wherever we may be.

Hundreds of deacons and volunteers distributed the communion wafer to thousands receiving the Eucharist.

"God is living in our cities. The Church is living in our cities, and she wants to be like yeast in the dough," the pope said. "She wants to relate to everyone, to stand at everyone's side, as she proclaims the marvels of the Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Eternal Father, the Prince of Peace."

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