Among the many leaders who will greet Pope Francis upon his arrival will be the head of the Brooklyn diocese, who heads one of the most diverse populations in the Catholic Church. NY1's Jeanine Ramirez filed the following report.
At St Michael's Church in Sunset Park, there's a welcome banner with Pope Francis' image superimposed on the Brooklyn Bridge.
While Brooklyn is not a scheduled stop on his trip, he will step foot in the Brooklyn Diocese. That's because he lands at JFK Airport in Queens, and the diocese serves both Brooklyn and Queens, where there are 1.5 million Catholics, many of them immigrants.
"We are the diocese of immigrants," said Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of the Brooklyn Diocese." He understands the immigrant experience firsthand, so we're going to impress him that this is who we are, immigrants in this city."
Across the diocese, mass is celebrated in dozens of languages. At Our Lady of Perpetual Help, mass is celebrated in Spanish six times a week, and there are announcements for services in Vietnamese and Chinese.
"We have mass in 30 different languages on Sunday, and more than one in each language," DiMarzio said. In 196 parishes, we have 110 where there's Spanish mass. There are other parishes that have mass in Polish, Creole, Italian."
While Pope Francis has been vocal in supporting immigrants, DiMarzio said he's also glad the pope's visit to an elementary school in Harlem will highlight the importance of a Catholic education as those schools struggle.
Across the street from the diocese offices is a building that formerly housed Bishop Ford High School, which permanently closed its doors last year after more than 50 years in operation.
The Brooklyn Diocese provides subsidies to families to help them afford tuition from kindergarten through the eighth grade.
"The scholarship program that we have is about $10 million a year, and it goes to families that earn less than $29,000 a year," DiMarzio said.
DiMarzio says he also hopes parishioners hear the pope's message about climate change, especially after Hurricane Sandy ravaged coastal areas of Queens and Brooklyn.
"Really, he's challenging us as people to leave, for another generation that comes after us, a better world," he said.
And the lesson here in this diverse diocese - a more tolerant world, too.