Three million people attended the Pope's final Mass for World Youth Day 2013, on Copacabana beach, in Rio de Janiero, Brazil, concluding his triumphant first overseas trip. Francis called on young people to revitalise the Church.
- The Guardian, July 29, 2013
In the evangelical, simple, and radical style that has characterised his week-long visit to Brazil, Francis also urged followers to be more active in their faith by reaching out to "to the fringes of society, even to those who seem farthest away, most indifferent."
"The Church needs you, your enthusiasm, your creativity and the joy that is so characteristic of you," he told the vast throng, hundreds of thousands of whom had slept overnight on the 4km-long beach.
Underscoring the influence of the Church in Latin America, his congregation included the presidents of Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, and Suriname, as well as the vice-presidents of Uruguay and Panama, and a host of other dignitaries.
Authorities said the crowd for the final Mass of the World Youth Day Catholic festival had swollen to more than three million people during the weekend. Many who camped on the beach overnight said they had trouble sleeping owing to the cold and the noise of the waves and happy pilgrims singing until the early morning.
"I'm very tired but happy. It was good fun," said Paul Mitchell, from Sydney, who slept on the sand and went for a swim before the Mass began. "It was amazing to see other people's faces. People here are so alive and filled with the love of God. We could learn from that, especially the Church in Australia."
Waving their hands, singing and praying together, the huge crowd joined in an often rapturous shared worship.
Sister Mary Herrera giggled when asked how it feels to sleep with three million people.
"This is what I call a revolution of love," said the nun, who teaches in poor communities and drug rehabilitation centres in Argentina.
The festival has brought a population bigger than the combined residents of Manchester and Birmingham into Copacabana for open-air events relayed along the beach by more than a dozen giant screens.
Read full article: Pope Francis's final mass in Brazil 'attended by 3m' (The Guardian)
Apostolic Journey to Rio de Janiero (Vatican)