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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  September 24, 2015 6:30pm-7:01pm EDT

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"nbc nightly news" with lester holt has live coverage of the pope's historic visit right now. >> have a great evening. >> breaking news tonight -- pope francis arrives in new york city. crowds lining the streets and heavy security as the pope delivers a prayer to the faithful at st. patrick's cathedral. after his historic address to a joint meeting of congress. tonight the striking message he delivered. >> also developing news of a fatal collision on a bridge in seattle. a violent crash involving a packed charter bus and amphibious tour boat. late details. stampede horror. at least 700 dead, 800 injured as disaster strikes again in one of the world's holiest places. breaking a scandal. the small teen from an american university that discovered a shocking secret and brought the world's largest automaker to
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its knees." nightly news" begins right now. pope francis in america, this is nbc "nightly news with lester holt." >> good evening. we are back in new york tonight virtually outside our 30 rock studios and witnessing the massive crowds lining fifth avenue right now outside st. patrick's cathedral, awaiting the arrival of pope francis. they are about to see him. the motorcade now turning on to fifth avenue. we expect him to get into the pope mobile very shortly and make a short parade down fifth avenue to st. patrick's cathedral. there is the scene taking place. all this under a ring of security unlike anything that even new york city has seen. they're coming into view right now is the fiat that has become famous during this trip, or one of the fiats the pope has been taking. he will emerge from the vehicle and we expect him to get into the pope mobile which was prepositioned here. he will parade several
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blocks to st. patrick's cathedral where he will take place in a vesper service. about 500 people waiting inside for that service. a number of political, religious dignitaries and other invited guests. people have been standing on fifth avenue. thankfully on a gorgeous day, for hours, waiting for this moment. there you see the pontiff. he arrived at kennedy airport about 90 minutes ago after a short flight from washington, d.c. this, of course, is the second leg of the pope's trip to america. he will finish up in philadelphia this weekend. he starts his trip here, greeting a few people on the ground. there was a formal arrival ceremony at kennedy airport. he was then ushered on to a u.s. marine vip helicopter, flown to the wall street heliport in lower manhattan. made the motorcade to midtown manhattan. transferring into the
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popemobile which he will be greeting thousands of new yorkers. not only new yorkers, but people who have come from all over the country. we'll show you later in the broadcast, all over the world to witness this moment to see this pope, to greet him, to hopefully capture his glance or a wave as he makes his way. you can hear the roar of the crowd begin to swell as he comes into view taking his place, his perch in the popemobile. beginning to greet those around him. let's go to nbc's anne thompson in the crowd where folks will see the pope momentarily. >> reporter: they have just opened the doors to st. patrick's cathedral. you can see inside all the people waiting for the vesper service. outside, you've got literally tens of thousands of people along fifth avenue just hoping for a glimpse of the pope in the pope mobile. there you can see him, behind him and who will be riding with him is cardinal timothy dolan, the archbishop of new york who i know will enjoy every single second of this. when they go the five
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blocks to come down here to st. patrick's, they will be greeted by some catholic school children, all these people in the security vests. those are men and women who worked on the restoration of st. patrick's cathedral. $175 million project that actually was under way before cardinal dolan knew that pope francis was going to come to new york, but they got most of the job done. new york's jewel is really sparkling for this occasion. now you see the pope. he's getting ready and waving to some of the crowd. his security people are in place. it shouldn't take him very long to get down here. one of the nice things about what happened in washington yesterday when the pope mobile went around the elipse, they went very slowly, giving people a real good look at the pope. hopefully that will happen here on fifth avenue, as well. there are people literally 10 to 15 feet deep along fifth
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af who have waited hours and have been extraordinarily patient. new york crowds can be rowdy, but this group has been very, very well behaved. it looks like from what i can see we've got movement coming down here so the pope mobile should goat under way. he is coming to a vespers service which is an evening prayer service in the catholic church. he will be joined by 2,400 members of the clergy. those are priests, nones and brothers here. there will be dignitaries. governor andrew cuomo, the governor of new york is here, mayor bill de blasio is out front along with new york senator chuck schumer all waiting to greet the pope. they are just moving some buses here out of the way. hopefully they'll get out of the way. we wouldn't want our view blocked. it looks like the pope mobile is slowly getting under way and going to make its way down fifth avenue. lester? >> we are about seven
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stories up. it's interesting to hear the roar of the crowds below us as he begins to make that several-block movement up to st. patrick's cathedral. as we noted, these crowds and the security is unlike anything we've seen. you may see in the background, eight foot tall fences erected now. something we've never seen even during times like this with the u.n. general assembly in town and other dignitaries. it is an incredible security apparatus here. that pope mobile providing an amazing view for the crowds he will encounter. tom brokaw is with me watching this compare this to anything you've seen. >> i've been in the city for more than 40 years at this point. we've had a lot of great visitors over the years. there's never been the excitement and the security, the combination of the two. the people are so patient dealing with all that security because he is so charismatic and so popular. >> we will see your report shortly about his speech to congress today, but has it --
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is this a pastoral trip or is he transcending politics or global affairs here? >> i don't think we've seen a holy father quite like this man who does preach the doctrine of the church but take head on the social issues that are very much in play, not just in this country but around the world when he talks about poverty and the sanctity of marriage and climate change. the church feels responsibility for mother earth and all living things in it. >> a remarkable scene here this would be rush hour in new york city. i'm certainly it is if you're on the other side of the barricades, but this is fifth avenue. we saw that sea of cell phones, smart phones being held, ubiquitous at moments like this. the pope taking his time. this is not a long journey. at this speed, folks will get a chance to look at him. he has been known to look people in the eye and wave right at them. many have made very long journeys in hopes
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of that glance or a wave or even a wink or thumb's up. we've seen him do all the above on this journey. and the bells right now. the bells of st. pat's ringing on fifth avenue welcoming the pope. >> he really represents and seems to me two cultures of the two countries, italy and argentina. italy is the very gregarious country, argentina where he spent most his life. that is a charismatic country. people are very exuberant and willing to exhibit their feelings. they brings that all together not just as the holy father but someone coming here as the most celebrated tourist probably in the history of new york city. >> this can be a jaded city. certainly not at times like this. another city that can be jaded, washington, d.c. that brings me to chuck todd. you have been watching as he came to washington. he essentially challenged our leaders today for this country
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to live up to its values and creed. how did that go over? >> i can tell you, every member of congress took it as well as would you hope they would take it. i saw many of them, conservative and liberal alike coming out, huge smiles on their face. it reminded me watching cardinal dolan there getting into the pope mobile with his smile. that was similar to what you would see with these members of congress streaming out. of course, the question i have is did they really hear his message? among the more powerful messages he had to congress was, learn how to work for the common good. he talked about good politicians are pragmatic. he really was preaching to a group of people who have been, you know, not so pragmatic these days. that have been polarizing. it seemed as if he was trying to be aspirational and remind them of the great that americans in the past have done with democracy. he was almost challenging them to
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live up to it. yes, he had his agenda and was very clear with that. tom went through it very thoroughly. i was taken with that larger message there. i can only hope with six days to go, that these guys, the message has a hangover and that maybe we don't shut down the government. >> as we listen to the bells toll above fifth avenue from the newly renovated st. patrick's cathedral, we see the pope making his way down fifth avenue greeting the crowd on both sides of the popemobile. anne thompson is down there. to be clear, the people we are seeing along fifth avenue there, that is an area, a ticketed secured area, correct? >> reporter: you know, lester? i'm actually not quite sure. but i can tell you this, whether they are ticketed or not, they are very enthusiastic. yet respectful crowd as the pope makes his way down fifth avenue, blessing people as he goes. it is a crowd, you can see all the arms
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outstretched just trying to get that picture, to capture that moment. and waiting here at st. patrick's i'm struck by it, i can see a big donor to the renovation of st. patrick's cathedral. he is a very prominent businessman in this country who actually questioned some of the pope's comments about capitalism, and wondered if this pope in particular was an anti-capitalist. the pope addressed that on the papal plane, on the flight back from havana to washington, saying that everything he has said goes back to the doctrine of the church. you hear the cheers as pope francis gets closer to st. patrick's cathedral. people are starting to really express themselves vocally as he comes into view here. i'm just starting to get my first glimpse of the popemobile. another loud cheer from this crowd. and he just -- the
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thing about pope francis is he loves this. he is tired. i'm sure he's exhausted. it's been an incredibly long day. this kind of session gives him energy. i see an argentinean flag in the crowd. more blessings coming here. cardinal dolan has a big smile on his face. this is just a tremendous moment for the city of new york. the school kids are going wild as they see pope francis approach the stairs here at st. pat's. >> and we expect, we saw a short while ago governor cuomo and mayor de blasio, and i believe senator schumer who will be greeting him. >> reporter: yes. you can see he is waving to the workers who helped renovate this magnificent cathedral.
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lots of applause now. a bouquet of flowers given to the pope that was in the popemobile. and he starts to make his way down. a big hug for cardinal dolan from mayor phil de blasio. here he comes. setting foot on fifth avenue. and coming to greet -- i believe that is, excuse me, the rector of st. patrick's cathedral. now he says hello to new york governor andrew cuomo. i wonder if governor cuomo is speaking italian to him. the pope is most comfortable in italian or spanish. spanish is his native language. as he said today in congress, he is a son of immigrants. italian was spoken at home in buenes aires.
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his english, he says isn't very good. today he gave almost an hour's speech. there is new york senior senator chuck schumer now greeting the pontiff. next in line will be new york's mayor bill de blasio. senator schum other having an extended conversation with him. now the mayor of new york phil de blasio. and cardinal dolan is in there saying something. everybody smiling. this is really just a joyous moment for all. >> we also have the invocation as we watch this. we have seen it so many times. the pope may wade into some of the crowd. i think people of the crowd have come to expect and hope that they may be able to reach out and touch
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him and even talk to him. >> you see cardinal dolan pointing out the workers and the pope is weaving to them. just an electrical response over here. where the school kids are. another wave there. those are the moments people look for. lester, you're right. somebody described pope francis as the one-on-one pope. the pope who picks up the cell phone and calls people on their birthday. the pope loves to go into the crowds and shake hands. will he do this here? i'm not sure because he is getting ready to go in 2 aand preside over a church service. he will make his way up the stairs into st. patrick's for the beginning of this prayer service. there he is shaking tim langone's hands, one of the major donors to the renovation of st.
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patrick's cathedral. >> this is a man, his first trip to the united states. first washington and now new york. he made the short flight up a while ago from washington, d.c. i was tracking his flight. didn't look like they got above 10,000 feet. on a gorgeous day he was able to see a lot of the eastern seaboard making his way to kennedy airport and the short chopper ride here to new york city and finally the motorcade coming down the famed fifth avenue, one of the most famous avenues in the world. still greeting people outside st. patrick's cathedral as he makes his way up the stairs. that gives him elevation and you get a better view of the crowd. many snapping away pictures as the pope is ushered into st. patrick's cathedral. the bells ringing loudly and the music inside soaring off the rafters.
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that's cardinal dolan to the pope's right. about 500, we are told, are part of those inside the church for this vespers service. there's a great shot
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inside the cathedral. smiles and applause as the pope makes his way to the sanctuary. tom, i remember being above the square the day he was elected. this is a person we could walk past a few days earlier and barely given a glance to. >> he was completely unknown. i was in south america at the time of his election. i had just left argentina the day before. timing was not great, but what is in chile. there was almost no reaction in chile, their neighbor, to the idea that a south american had been elected pope. no one knew what to expect of him. when we first began to see him, we could see his charm, his charisma, but the fact that he has put himself so far out
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there on a lot of the social issues while maintaining that kind of pope from main street feel about him, which is a remarkable combination. >> st. patrick's cathedral, you and i tomorrow will be covering his appearance at the 9/11 memorial. st. patrick's cathedral is the heart of the city in so many ways at the time of 9/11. so there is a little continuity here. >> look at that crowd as he makes his way to the front of the church. meantime, the people lined outside, we expect they will remain because they'll still want a chance at another glimpse of the pope after this service.
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and that is a young woman who will forever remember that moment. wiping at her tears. clapping as the pope reaches out to her. anne thompson who is just outside the cathedral. anne, what will exactly be happening inside? >> reporter: well, we see the pope greeting henry kissinger who is in the second row, i believe. cardinal dolan is by his side. the man who you see in front of the pope here, that's monsignor mark miles. that is the pope's translator there to help him along. cardinal dolan also speaks italian so between the two of
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them, they can help with any kind of communication problem should one exist. but this really is a phenomenal moment inside. outside, they are starting to move out. some people are starting to leave. another bouquet of flowers for pope francis inside. to hear that kind of cheer in a cathedral is really remarkable. and just that boisterous new york enthusiasm that pope francis is now starting to get a taste of as he makes his way to the back of the church. slowly up the stairs there with a little help. he has a bad hip. you can tell he's enjoying every second of this. cardinal dolan, i don't think i've ever seen him smile quite this much.
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that is dominico giani, the head of security. he will put the flowers at the pieta the st. patrick's cathedral. he blesses himself. now he walks away. being guided to another altar in the cathedral where both he and cardinal dolan will pray. >> tom, you wonder about the impact, the lasting impact after this visit with the pope. >> i think that's a great test. obviously, he's been a very striking and charismatic figure here and said memorable things. in the modern world, it does move very
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swiftly. it will be interesting to see, it seems to me, what the social media will have to say in the next week or so. that will be one of the tests about whether the lingering impact will feed over into the social media and whether they'll accept a lot of what he had to say. >> the message continues to be about mercy and compassion. again, we talked about he made this speech to a joint meeting of congress today. he really pricked at the conscienceness of this country. will it get to the heart of who we are as people. >> something to watch. those people out there beyond washington, beyond the beltway who are conflicted about same-sex marriage, global warning, about poverty and about arms trade. they are trying to figure out what they believe. i think a lot of them will gravitate to his position because he has such an influence now, obviously, on
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this country. not just talking about catholics. there are others who see him as a new, fresh and very persuasive voice on the importance of social issues. >> and tomorrow is of great significance as he visits ground zero here in new york city. we'll get a chance to visit with some of the families who lost loved ones. >> that is probably, outside st. patrick's cathedral, the most spiritual place in the city. >> still. >> you go there and you have an enormous foreboding about what happened that day. but at the same time you have a real sense how the city responded and has pulled together people of all faiths, all ethnic groups and we lost a lot of that. we'll see whether it's restarted with his appearance. >> the pope has briefly gone out of sight. we expect to see him momentarily. this is what is known as a vespers service.
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anne thompson, can you tell us more about this service? >> reporter: let me first tell you where the pope is. he is in the sachistry and he is vesting. he is putting on the garments that he will wear to lead this vespers service. it is basically a prayer service. it is not a mass. et is a prayer service that he will hold with the clergy here. in every city he goes to, he always has a meeting with the clergy. it's very important to him. let me send it back to you. >> certainly in what may have been the image of the day, we talked about this. the pope emerged on the balcony at the west front of the capitol in washington, d.c. and offered blessings to a crowd of tens of thousands. he just made history again becoming the first pope to ever address a joint mediating of congress. a powerful speech.
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he essentially challenged our leaders to live up to the values this country was built on. tom, you have more on this message. >> his appearance today, the holy father made an appearance before congress that my guess is that presidents and would-be presidents would envy, part charm, part lecture, something for everyone. >> the pope of the holy see. >> pope francis went before congress, not as a republican or democrat, not as an independent or tea party member but a moral authority, the vicor of christ. in our season of discontent, when division riles the political landscape and desperate immigrants with war and dependent approximation fill the screen, owe brought important challenges to america's moral authority. >> we the people of this continent are not
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fearful of foreigners because most of us were once foreigners. we must resolve now to live as nobly and as justly as possible. as we educate new generations not to turn their back on our neighbors. >> reporter: congress, the famously contentious body listened respectfully as francis turned to global warming. >> the environmental challenge we are undergoing and its human roots concern and affect us all. >> reporter: the pope also addressed america's great he would, the concentration of riches in a small percentage of the population. >> now is the time for courageous action and strategies aimed at
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implementing a culture of care and integrated approach to combatting poverty. >> reporter: just when congressional conservatives may have thought there was nothing for them, the family, and by extension, no endorsement of same-soex marriage. >> on the mantle relations have been called into question as is the very basis of marriage and the family. i can only reiterate the importance and above all the richness and the beauty of family life. >> reporter: pope francis is the holy father to catholics, the charismatic figure to other faiths and nonbelievers alike. and a humble man with a powerful voice. >> god bless america. >> that chamber like we've rarely seen it. tom brokaw, thanks very much.
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that is going to do it for us on this thursday night. i'm lestter holt. for all of us at nbc news, thank you for watching and good night.
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