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.
123-r-28-(Sound of male voice singing solo, then joined by a choir, at beachfront Mass)--Sound of a Brazilian singer joined by a choir at the Mass celebrated by Pope Francis on the Rio beachfront. (28 Jul 2013)
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124-a-20-(Unidentified young woman reading from the Bible, at beachfront Mass)-"am with you"-An unidentified young woman offers an English language reading from the Bible and the prophet Jeremiah as Catholics marked the World Youth Day gathering. ((note cut length)) (28 Jul 2013)
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109-r-26-(Sound of large numbers of people cheering wildly, along Pope's driven route to altar on beachfront)--Sound of people cheering wildly as the Pope's vehicle moves through the city toward the beachfront altar. (28 Jul 2013)
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107-r-19-(Sound of Pope Francis reading as he celebrates Mass, at beachfront Mass)--Sound of Pope Francis reading from the altar as he celebrates Mass on the beachfront in Rio. (28 Jul 2013)
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APPHOTO VC137: Pope Francis waves at the conclusion World Youth Day's concluding Mass on Copacabana beach, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, July 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano) (28 Jul 2013)
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APPHOTO XLAT702: Crowds wait for the arrival of Pope Francis to celebrate World Youth Day closing Mass on the Copacabana beachfront in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 28, 2013. Francis wrapped up a historic trip to his home continent Sunday with a Mass that drew a reported 3 million people. (AP Photo/Luca Zennaro, Pool) (28 Jul 2013)
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