Pope Draws 3 Million in Rio for Final World Youth Day Mass

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) - Pope Francis has celebrated the final Mass of his visit to Brazil before a crowd estimated at more than 3 million.

Francis told the young people jamming Rio's Copacabana beach that the church needs their enthusiasm and creativity. He urged them to go out and spread their faith "to the fringes of society," even to those who seem the most indifferent.

Nearly the entire two-and-a-half-mile crescent of beach was filled with people, many of whom camped there overnight.

As the pope arrived, the crowd cheered and some tossed t-shirts, flags and soccer jerseys into his open-sided car as he drove by. Francis caught gifts on the fly, kissed babies and took a sip of tea that was handed up to him.

The Vatican's crowd estimate of more than 3 million was based on information from World Youth Day organizers and local authorities.

That's a far bigger turnout than the 1 million at the last World Youth Day in Madrid in 2011. Only Pope John Paul II's 1995 Mass in Manila topped Rio's numbers, with an estimated 5 million people taking part.


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