Thousands Cheer Pope Francis in Central Park

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By Jon Schuppe

Tens of thousands of people jammed into New York's Central Park Friday to watch Pope Francis make his way from Harlem, where he visited a Catholic school, to Madison Square Garden, where he will deliver Mass to another huge crowd.

Francis' slow procession through the park's winding roads was accompanied by nonstop screaming and cheering from the 80,000 people who'd gotten tickets and waited hours to watch.

While they waited, a rainbow appeared amid the clouds, leading some faithful to call it a divine blessing.

The processional was added to the pope's packed schedule to allow more people to see him, and for the famously social Francis to to engage with the people.

He remained in his Popemobile for the entire ride, surrounded by black-suited security personnel. WHen he reached Central Park South, Francis hopped into a Fiat.

Francis waved through the car's open window as his procession moved south through Midtown Manhattan toward the arena.

Crowds of people stand behind a police barricade as they await the arrival of Pope Francis on September 25, 2015 in New York's Central Park.RICHARD DREW / AFP - Getty Images
Associated Press contributed.