NEW YORK - Pope Francis prayed vespers — the formal term for evening prayers — at New York's St. Patrick's Cathedral on Thursday night.
Members of the clergy and religious orders filled the grand, gothic-style cathedral for the service.
As Francis made his way down the long central aisle to the altar, he occasionally stopped to greet people in the pews, including a a girl in a wheelchair and a mother holding a baby.
The girl wiped at her eyes, as if to whisk away tears, after he blessed her.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Bill de Blasio, Sen. Charles Schumer and other elected officials attended the service.
Thousands of people lined up along Fifth Avenue to greet him with cheers as he made his way in his open-sided popemobile to the center of one of the nation's largest Roman Catholic archdioceses.
The cathedral's bells pealed as Francis waved to and blessed the crowd, even giving the occasional thumbs-up.
The 136-year-old cathedral just underwent a three-year, $175 million restoration, the most extensive work there in decades.
About 5 million people visit St. Patrick's each year.