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Pope to lead thousands through New York's Central Park

Pope to lead thousands through New York's Central Park Pope to lead thousands through New York's Central Park

Pope Francis will lead a vast procession of thousands through Central Park during his historic visit to the United States later this month, the New York mayor said Tuesday, AFP reports.

And with interest expected to be high, authorities are launching an "online ticket giveaway contest" for people eager to attend the September 25 addition to the pontiff's already packed schedule.    

"The procession through Central Park will give thousands of New Yorkers an opportunity to come face to face with Pope Francis," Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

"We're proud to welcome one of the world's most powerful voices to our great city... and we are grateful to the archdiocese for their cooperation in giving even more New Yorkers a chance to join in this historic visit."

New York State residents keen on getting a glimpse of Francis as he makes his way along Central Park's West Drive can apply for two passes by enrolling in the ticket lottery online or by phone between Thursday and Monday, according to de Blasio's office. 

Francis has a tight schedule during his US visit, which features stops in Washington and Philadelphia, in addition to New York.

Aside from the parade, the pope's September 24-25 stint in the Big Apple includes a speech at the United Nations, a multi-religious service at a memorial for victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks and a mass at the Madison Square Garden indoor arena.

Francis is also expected to visit a school in East Harlem.

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