The Latest: Pope stumbles after Mass, but aides prevent fall

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  • Pope Francis takes part in an ecumenical prayer at the World Council of Churches (WCC), on Thursday, June 21, 2018, in Geneva, Switzerland. (Denis Balibouse/pool photo via AP)

  • 1

    Pope Francis, right, celebrates the Holy Mass at Palexpo hall in Geneva, Switzerland, Thursday, June 21, 2018. Pope Francis visits the World Council of Churches as centrepiece of the ecumenical commemoration of the WCC's 70th anniversary. (Martial Trezzini/pool photo via AP)

  • 2

    Pope Francis steps out of the plane after landing at the Geneva International Airport for a one-day visit at the invitation of the World Council of Churches (WWC), Thursday June 21, 2018, in Geneva, Switzerland. (Tony Gentile/pool photo via AP)

  • 3

    Pope Francis salutes as he boards the airplane for the ecumenical pilgrimage to Geneva, at the 'Leonardo Da Vinci' airport in Fiumicino, in the outskirts of Rome, Thursday, June 21, 2018. The visit is part of celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of the World Council of Churches. (Telenews/ANSA via AP)

  • 4

    Pope Francis is welcomed by Swiss president Alain Berset, after his arrival in Geneva, Switzerland, Thursday, June 21, 2018. Pope Francis Francis arrived for a one-day visit to promote his view that Christians, whatever their theological differences, can join forces to work for peace and justice in the world. (Peter Klaunzer/pool photo via AP)

  • 5

    Pope Francis steps out of the plane after landing at the Geneva International Airport for a one-day visit at the invitation of the World Council of Churches (WWC), Thursday June 21, 2018, in Geneva, Switzerland. (Tony Gentile/pool photo via AP)

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    Pope Francis is welcomed by the President of the Swiss Confederation Alain Berset, right, as he steps out of the plane after landing at the Geneva International Airport for a one-day visit at the invitation of the World Council of Churches (WWC), Thursday, June 21, 2018, in Geneva, Switzerland. (Tony Gentile/pool photo via AP

  • 7

    Pope Francis gives his speech in the Ecumenical center in Geneva, Switzerland, Thursday, June 21, 2018. The one-day visit is part of celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of the World Council of Churches. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

  • 8

    Pope Francis gives his speech in the Ecumenical center in Geneva, Switzerland, Thursday, June 21, 2018. The one-day visit is part of celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of the World Council of Churches. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

  • 9

    Pope Francis gives his speech in the Ecumenical center in Geneva, Switzerland, Thursday, June 21, 2018. The one-day visit is part of celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of the World Council of Churches. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

  • 10

    Pope Francis, center, holds a wooden cross, as he is surrounded by Olav Fykse Tveit from Norway, General Secretary of WCC, left, and from right, Metropolitan Gennadios of Sassima, Vice-Moderator of the WCC Central Committee, and Martin Junge from Chile, General Secretary of The Lutheran World Federation during his visit at the Ecumenical Institute of Bossey near Geneva, in western Switzerland, Thursday, June 21, 2018 Pope Francis is on a one-day visit to the World Council of Churches. (Alexandra Wey/Keystone via AP)

  • 11

    Pope Francis, center, joins students and staff during his visit at the Ecumenical Institute of Bossey near Geneva, in western Switzerland, Thursday, June 21, 2018 Pope Francis is on a one-day visit to the World Council of Churches. (Alexandra Wey/Keystone via AP)

  • 12

    Pilgrims wait for the Holy Mass of Pope Francis, inside the Palexpo hall, in Geneva, Switzerland, Thursday, June 21, 2018. Pope Francis visit the World Council of Churches as centrepiece of the ecumenical commemoration of the WCC's 70th anniversary. (Jean-Christophe Bott/Keystone via AP)

  • 13

    Pope Francis joins students and staff during his visit at the Ecumenical Institute of Bossey at the Chateau de Bossey near Celigny, Switzerland, on Thursday, June 21, 2018. Pope Francis visits the World Council of Churches as centrepiece of the ecumenical commemoration of the WCC's 70th anniversary. (Alexandra Wey/pool photo via AP)

  • 14

    Pope Francis takes part in an ecumenical prayer at the World Council of Churches (WCC), on Thursday, June 21, 2018, in Geneva, Switzerland. (Denis Balibouse/pool photo via AP)

  • 15

    Pope Francis delivers his message at the Visser't Hall at an Ecumenical Center, in Geneva, Switzerland, Thursday, June 21, 2018. The one-day visit is part of celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of the World Council of Churches. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

  • 16

    Pope Francis takes part in an ecumenical prayer at the World Council of Churches (WCC), on Thursday, June 21, 2018, in Geneva, Switzerland. (Denis Balibouse/pool photo via AP)

  • 17

    Pope Francis celebrates the Holy Mass, at the Palexpo hall, in Geneva, Switzerland, Thursday, June 21, 2018. Pope Francis visit the World Council of Churches on occasion of its 70th anniversary. (Jean-Christophe Bott/Keystone via AP)

  • 18

    Pope Francis celebrates the Holy Mass, at the Palexpo hall, in Geneva, Switzerland, Thursday, June 21, 2018. Pope Francis visit the World Council of Churches on occasion of its 70th anniversary. (Jean-Christophe Bott/Keystone via AP)

  • 19

    Pope Francis celebrates the Holy Mass at Palexpo hall in Geneva, Switzerland, Thursday, June 21, 2018. Pope Francis visits the World Council of Churches as centrepiece of the ecumenical commemoration of the WCC's 70th anniversary. (Martial Trezzini/pool photo via AP)

  • Pope Francis takes part in an ecumenical prayer at the World Council of Churches (WCC), on Thursday, June 21, 2018, in Geneva, Switzerland. (Denis Balibouse/pool photo via AP)

  • 1

    Pope Francis, right, celebrates the Holy Mass at Palexpo hall in Geneva, Switzerland, Thursday, June 21, 2018. Pope Francis visits the World Council of Churches as centrepiece of the ecumenical commemoration of the WCC's 70th anniversary. (Martial Trezzini/pool photo via AP)

  • 2

    Pope Francis steps out of the plane after landing at the Geneva International Airport for a one-day visit at the invitation of the World Council of Churches (WWC), Thursday June 21, 2018, in Geneva, Switzerland. (Tony Gentile/pool photo via AP)

  • 3

    Pope Francis salutes as he boards the airplane for the ecumenical pilgrimage to Geneva, at the 'Leonardo Da Vinci' airport in Fiumicino, in the outskirts of Rome, Thursday, June 21, 2018. The visit is part of celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of the World Council of Churches. (Telenews/ANSA via AP)

  • 4

    Pope Francis is welcomed by Swiss president Alain Berset, after his arrival in Geneva, Switzerland, Thursday, June 21, 2018. Pope Francis Francis arrived for a one-day visit to promote his view that Christians, whatever their theological differences, can join forces to work for peace and justice in the world. (Peter Klaunzer/pool photo via AP)

  • 5

    Pope Francis steps out of the plane after landing at the Geneva International Airport for a one-day visit at the invitation of the World Council of Churches (WWC), Thursday June 21, 2018, in Geneva, Switzerland. (Tony Gentile/pool photo via AP)

  • 6

    Pope Francis is welcomed by the President of the Swiss Confederation Alain Berset, right, as he steps out of the plane after landing at the Geneva International Airport for a one-day visit at the invitation of the World Council of Churches (WWC), Thursday, June 21, 2018, in Geneva, Switzerland. (Tony Gentile/pool photo via AP

  • 7

    Pope Francis gives his speech in the Ecumenical center in Geneva, Switzerland, Thursday, June 21, 2018. The one-day visit is part of celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of the World Council of Churches. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

  • 8

    Pope Francis gives his speech in the Ecumenical center in Geneva, Switzerland, Thursday, June 21, 2018. The one-day visit is part of celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of the World Council of Churches. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

  • 9

    Pope Francis gives his speech in the Ecumenical center in Geneva, Switzerland, Thursday, June 21, 2018. The one-day visit is part of celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of the World Council of Churches. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

  • 10

    Pope Francis, center, holds a wooden cross, as he is surrounded by Olav Fykse Tveit from Norway, General Secretary of WCC, left, and from right, Metropolitan Gennadios of Sassima, Vice-Moderator of the WCC Central Committee, and Martin Junge from Chile, General Secretary of The Lutheran World Federation during his visit at the Ecumenical Institute of Bossey near Geneva, in western Switzerland, Thursday, June 21, 2018 Pope Francis is on a one-day visit to the World Council of Churches. (Alexandra Wey/Keystone via AP)

  • 11

    Pope Francis, center, joins students and staff during his visit at the Ecumenical Institute of Bossey near Geneva, in western Switzerland, Thursday, June 21, 2018 Pope Francis is on a one-day visit to the World Council of Churches. (Alexandra Wey/Keystone via AP)

  • 12

    Pilgrims wait for the Holy Mass of Pope Francis, inside the Palexpo hall, in Geneva, Switzerland, Thursday, June 21, 2018. Pope Francis visit the World Council of Churches as centrepiece of the ecumenical commemoration of the WCC's 70th anniversary. (Jean-Christophe Bott/Keystone via AP)

  • 13

    Pope Francis joins students and staff during his visit at the Ecumenical Institute of Bossey at the Chateau de Bossey near Celigny, Switzerland, on Thursday, June 21, 2018. Pope Francis visits the World Council of Churches as centrepiece of the ecumenical commemoration of the WCC's 70th anniversary. (Alexandra Wey/pool photo via AP)

  • 14

    Pope Francis takes part in an ecumenical prayer at the World Council of Churches (WCC), on Thursday, June 21, 2018, in Geneva, Switzerland. (Denis Balibouse/pool photo via AP)

  • 15

    Pope Francis delivers his message at the Visser't Hall at an Ecumenical Center, in Geneva, Switzerland, Thursday, June 21, 2018. The one-day visit is part of celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of the World Council of Churches. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

  • 16

    Pope Francis takes part in an ecumenical prayer at the World Council of Churches (WCC), on Thursday, June 21, 2018, in Geneva, Switzerland. (Denis Balibouse/pool photo via AP)

  • 17

    Pope Francis celebrates the Holy Mass, at the Palexpo hall, in Geneva, Switzerland, Thursday, June 21, 2018. Pope Francis visit the World Council of Churches on occasion of its 70th anniversary. (Jean-Christophe Bott/Keystone via AP)

  • 18

    Pope Francis celebrates the Holy Mass, at the Palexpo hall, in Geneva, Switzerland, Thursday, June 21, 2018. Pope Francis visit the World Council of Churches on occasion of its 70th anniversary. (Jean-Christophe Bott/Keystone via AP)

  • 19

    Pope Francis celebrates the Holy Mass at Palexpo hall in Geneva, Switzerland, Thursday, June 21, 2018. Pope Francis visits the World Council of Churches as centrepiece of the ecumenical commemoration of the WCC's 70th anniversary. (Martial Trezzini/pool photo via AP)

GENEVA (AP) The Latest on the pope's visit to Geneva (all times local):

7:20 p.m.

Pope Francis stumbled behind the altar after celebrating Mass in Geneva, but aides caught him, preventing a fall.

Francis had just given the faithful his blessing in French at Thursday's Mass in an exhibition hall, and was preparing to leave the raised altar platform at the final event of his day-trip to the Swiss city.

It appeared that Francis didn't notice there were two steps to descend and took a step as if there were only one step, then stumbled. Two aides quickly grabbed the pontiff to steady him.

Francis, 81, then walked out in procession, following other clergy, from the arena.

The pope was due to fly back to Rome in the evening at the end of a visit to promote unity among Christians.

___

4:25 p.m.

Pope Francis has met with a group of Korean Protestants while on a trip to Geneva to promote Christian unity, symbolizing the pontiff's hopes for cooperation and unity on the Korean Peninsula.

Francis' smiles and handshakes with the eight Koreans came during his one-day visit to the World Council of Churches on Thursday. The fellowship of non-Catholic churches is celebrating the 70th anniversary of its founding in 1948, the same year Korea split into North and South.

The Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit, a Lutheran minister and general secretary of the World Council of Churches, told reporters he hopes the pope's greeting "is a gesture that will inspire" the Koreans, who came from both the South and the North.

Korean Protestants regularly attend WCC meetings, but the show of unity comes amid an unexpected thaw in intra-Korean and U.S.-North Korean relations.

___

12 noon

Pope Francis has been greeted joyfully by Lutheran, Anglican, Methodist and Orthodox leaders as he arrived for an ecumenical service among many different Christian faiths at the World Council of Churches.

The pontiff waved to onlookers from his car as he arrived at WCC headquarters in Geneva for the prayer service in a modern hall with lattice woodwork and stained-glass windows. Worshippers sang songs from England, Germany, as well as a thumping hymn from the Lumka song book from South Africa.

American Bishop Mary Ann Swenson of the United Methodist Church said "it's so great to have you here" as Francis emerged under sunny skies from his car.

During the service, she said the pope's work "has inspired, enthused and strengthened the relationship and cooperation with the World Council of Churches on the common journey of the pilgrimage of justice and peace."

___

10:20 a.m.

Pope Francis has arrived in Geneva, one of the world's first cities to adopt the Protestant Reformation, for a one-day visit to highlight the importance of Christians praying and working together.

Francis will become the third pope to visit the World Council of Churches, which is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year.

The pontiff walked slowly down from his plane, smiled and shook hands with President Alain Berset and other Swiss officials.

Francis received a red-carpet welcome at the airport in Geneva, the "City of Calvin." A girl and a boy in traditional dress gave him bouquets, while a military band provided a musical fanfare.

The WCC is a fellowship of 350 churches that aims to show the unity of the Christian faith. The Roman Catholic Church is not a member.

                  

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