NEW YORK - Pope Francis visited the National September 11 Memorial and Museum at ground zero Friday. To a cheer from the gathered crowd, he walked toward the two massive waterfall pools that mark the footprints of the World Trade Center's twin towers before they were felled by the 2001 terrorist attacks.
Francis visited the site after a speech at the United Nations. Francis prayed silently and laid a white rose at the edge of one of the pools, inscribed with the names of the nearly 3,000 people killed in the attacks in New York, at the Pentagon and in a Pennsylvania field, as well as in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. (Story continues below)
He shook hands with former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and began speaking with some 18 people from 10 victims' families. After, he headed downstairs into the museum for an interfaith service. A dozen religious leaders representation different faiths -- including Judaism, Hinduism, Islam -- spoke about tolerance, acceptance, and peace.
"Here, amid pain and grief, we also have a palpable sense of the heroic goodness which people are capable of, those hidden reserves of strength from which we can draw," he said. "In the depths of pain and suffering, you also witnessed the heights of generosity and service." He offered a message of comfort and healing.
Pope Francis is on a three-city tour of the U.S. He already visited Washington and will head to Philadelphia Saturday.