RIO DE JANEIRO — An estimated 3 million people poured onto Rio’s Copacabana beach on Sunday for the final Mass of Pope Francis’ historic trip to his home continent, cheering the first Latin American pope in one of the biggest turnouts for a papal Mass in recent history.
Speaking from a white stage and looking out over the enormous crowd, Francis urged young Catholics to go out and spread their faith “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 said to applause in his final homily of World Youth Day.
The pope’s trip, which ended when he took off for Rome Sunday night, was hailed as a great success by clergy, pilgrims and everyday Brazilians alike.
The pope’s nonstop agenda was followed live on television for all seven days. His good nature and modesty clearly charmed the nation that has more Catholics than any other.
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