LIANE HANSEN, host:

From NPR News, this is WEEKEND EDITION. I'm Liane Hansen.

This morning Pope Benedict XVI visit Ground Zero in New York City. The pontiff wraps up his U.S. visit today and we'll have several reports this morning, including last night's youth rally in Yonkers, New York. We'll also talk to an outspoken author and Benedictine nun about the Catholic church and women.

But first we're checking in with NPR's Mike Pesca who's in New York at the Ground Zero site awaiting the Pope's arrival. Hi, Mike. Where are you exactly?

MIKE PESCA: Right now members of the media are spaced around the pit where the Ground Zero building is going up. So we're very far away. There are a couple of areas to look at it. And we're looking down at the pit where the Pope will be giving a blessing. There's a large ramp, which is always here for the building and he'll be moving down by the vehicle and then exiting his vehicle and blessing the ground and just saying a prayer. And no words, just a prayer.

HANSEN: So it's all going not be silent. Is he meeting with anybody there? It's just the gestures?

PESCA: He will - there will be some interactions. And there are family members of both first responders, victims of 9/11 and some survivors. And so many people wanted to be one of the two dozen people who are here and some of them were just selected randomly. And others are fairly well-known people.

Like, if you remember that Oliver Stone movie where Nick Cage played a guy named John McLaughlin, he for one is going to be here.

HANSEN: So, are crowds gathering and can you get a sense of what the mood is like there? Does it seem somber? People talking to you?

PESCA: That is right. This is probably going to be the most solemn or somber part of the Pope's entire itinerary. And the city decided to keep all crowds away. And usually they - the Pope will not be coming by Popemobile, like he did up 5th Avenue. It will be totally different from the mass at Yankee Stadium, which will occur later, and also the event that he did last night, which was the youth rally at the ceremony.

Very somber, very subdued, and like I said, this is, I think, the only occasion where he's just going to say a prayer and have no words. And the mood is very different from everything else the Pope is doing but in keeping with how solemn things are here at Ground Zero.

HANSEN: NPR's Mike Pesca. Mike, thanks.

PESCA: You're welcome.

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