October 4, 1965 marked the first papal visit to America. In fact it was the first time in more than 150 years that a Pope had even left Italy. Paul VI arrived at Kennedy Airport in New York on a Monday morning. Just after landing, the Pope spoke into microphones that were set up right next to the plane, and said “Greetings to you, America. The first pope to set foot upon your land blesses you with all his heart.”
From the airport, his motorcade took him through Harlem and Central Park before arriving at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Fifth Avenue. He had lunch at the residence of New York’s Cardinal Francis Spellman. The Pope’s next stop was at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. There he rode the elevator to the 35th floor and met with President Lyndon Johnson. Then he traveled a few more blocks east to the UN, where he proclaimed to the delegates of 116 out 117 member nations (Albania was boycotting.) “No more war! Never again war! Peace, it is peace that must guide the destinies of peoples and of all mankind.” Jackie Kennedy was among the dignitaries who met the Pope at the UN.
This was the first October since 1959 when the Yankees were not in the World Series, so there was no problem booking Yankee Stadium where the Pope delivered mass before 100,000 shivering followers. And then, before the stroke of midnight, Paul VI, having returned to Kennedy Airport, was flying back to Rome.