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Mariandale Nuns, County Exec Astorino Among Locals To Greet Pope Francis

Sister Patricia Jelly of Ossining is among the lucky ones with a ticket to Madison Square Garden. “I really hope to be a supportive presence at the Mass,” Jelly said. “I think that Pope Francis needs a tremendous amount of encouragement.” Photo Credit: Provided/Dominican Sisters of Hope
Dominican Sister Mary Headley's eyes light up when she speaks about Pope Francis, who the Mariandale nun from Ossining expects to see up close on Thursday during Vespers at St. Patrick's Cathedral. Photo Credit: Provided/Dominican Sisters of Hope
A poster above Holy Family Church near the United Nations in Manhattan anticipates Thursday's arrival of Pope Francis as part of his United States tour. Photo Credit: Jon Craig

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Rob Astorino of Hawthorne and seven nuns from Ossining are among the lucky faithful to greet Pope Francis this week when he visits New York City.

Astorino, who is Westchester County executive, is a Spanish-speaking parishioner at Holy Rosary Parish. He has been invited to work among lay staff at both Manhattan Masses involving Pope Francis -- a Thursday night Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral and a Papal Mass led by the Catholic Church's Holy Father on Friday at Madison Square Garden.

Seven members of the Mariandale Convent in Ossining, meanwhile, have invitations/tickets to attend events with the Pope.

Mary Headley, Bette Ann Jasper, Anne Marie Bucher and Barbara Anderson are going to Vespers on Thursday. Patricia Jelly, Pat Flynn and Sharon Yount will attend Mass at Madison Square Garden.

When Sister Headley talks about Pope Francis her eyes light up. It isn’t long before she’s scrolling through her cellphone’s photo gallery for images of the world's most famous Franciscan. "I'm so proud of him,'' Headley told a Dominican Sisters' publication. "He was taking subjects such as homelessness and immigration, many of the things we see in political debates, and focusing on them. . . .And the expressions on his face were so beautiful.

Sister Jelly doesn't expect to meet Pope Francis personally, but looks forward to being among the tens of thousands at Madison Square Garden. “I really hope to be a supportive presence at the Mass,” Jelly said. “I think that Pope Francis needs a tremendous amount of encouragement.”

To read more about the Dominican Sisters' anticipated visit to see Pope Francis, go here:

On Friday, Metro-North Railroad will add three additional inbound trains for the Hudson, Harlem and New Haven Lines to accommodate thousands of people heading into the city. New Yorkers not attending the Papal Mass are discouraged from entering Manhattan, where the Pope plans a visit to the World Trade Towers' memorial, or the Bronx -- where he will meet immigrant laborers.

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