NEW YORK -- Pope Francis and other religious leaders are at Ground Zero, commemorating the victims of 9/11, a dignified ceremony in a dignified space.
With the girders of the Twin Towers surrounding the dais, it was a stark, grim and touching service.
Prior to the service, the pope met in private with victims' families. After the service, he shook hands on the way out and stopped to talk to a man in Muslim garb. They took a selfie.
Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York, escorted Francis around the museum, showing him artifacts and personal effects from the site.
Speaking in Spanish -- as he did earlier at the U.N. -- Francis sounded far more authoritative and lively than his talk in English yesterday to the United States Congress. His rhetorical style, subdued when he reads, can be quite animated when he goes off script.
Jewish, Muslim and other religious leaders echoed Francis's call for peace and dialogue.
"Grief is palpable," he said, adding: here should be opposition to "any attempt to make us all the same. ... We must build unity based on diversity."
It appears the ardor of this whirlwind trip may be catching up to him, as his limp continues and he was driven around the U.N. earlier in a golf-cart-type vehicle. The pope has long suffered from sciatica, a nerve issue that causes pain in the back and legs.