3 Million Crowd Copacabana to Hear Pope

It's the second-most attended papal address ever

By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 28, 2013 12:33 PM CDT

(Newser) – Take note, Mick Jagger: For the final Mass of his historic return to Latin America, Pope Francis basically sold out not a stadium, but an entire 2.5 mile beach. As the AP reports, Francis this morning headed to Rio's Copacobana Beach, where some 3 million cheering faithful crammed onto the sand to hear the pontiff close out World Youth Day. "The church needs you, your enthusiasm, your creativity and the joy that is so characteristic of you!" Francis told the masses, urging the youth to embrace "the fringes of society, even to those who seem farthest away, most indifferent."

The crowd showered Francis with T-shirts, soccer jerseys, and flags as he made his way through, and the AP notes that his normally dour bodyguards cracked smiles in the face of the jubilation. But Rio was clearly unprepared for the sheer number of people: Garbage and human waste overwhelmed existing services as trash collectors struggled to keep up. Francis' Mass in Rio clocked in at the No. 2 papal address; only Pope John Paul II's 1995 Mass in the Philippines attracted more people, with an estimated 5 million. World Youth Day heads next to Krakow, Poland, in 2016.

Nuns dance as they wait for the start of a a vigil on Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday, July 27, 2013. Pope Francis drew faithful for the final evening of World Youth Day.
Nuns dance as they wait for the start of a a vigil on Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday, July 27, 2013. Pope Francis drew faithful for the final evening of World Youth Day.   (Luca Zennaro)
Pope Francis listens to Rio de Janeiro Archbishop Orani Tempesta upon his arrival to the World Youth Day closing Mass in Rio de Janeiro, Sunday, July 28, 2013.
Pope Francis listens to Rio de Janeiro Archbishop Orani Tempesta upon his arrival to the World Youth Day closing Mass in Rio de Janeiro, Sunday, July 28, 2013.   (Domenico Stinellis)
Pilgrims pack Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil,  Sunday, July 28, 2013. Hundreds of thousands of young people slept under chilly skies in the white sand awaiting Pope Francis’ final Mass.
Pilgrims pack Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, July 28, 2013. Hundreds of thousands of young people slept under chilly skies in the white sand awaiting Pope Francis’ final Mass.   (Victor R. Caivano)
People pack Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, July 28, 2013. Hundreds of thousands slept under chilly skies in the white sand awaiting Pope Francis’ final Mass for World Youth Day.
People pack Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, July 28, 2013. Hundreds of thousands slept under chilly skies in the white sand awaiting Pope Francis’ final Mass for World Youth Day.   (Felipe Dana)
Pope Francis celebrates Mass on Copacabana beach, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, July 28, 2013. Francis wrapped up is historic trip to his home continent with a Mass that drew 3 million people.
Pope Francis celebrates Mass on Copacabana beach, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, July 28, 2013. Francis wrapped up is historic trip to his home continent with a Mass that drew 3 million people.   (Victor R. Caivano)
Pope Francis celebrates Mass on Copacabana beach, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, July 28, 2013.
Pope Francis celebrates Mass on Copacabana beach, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, July 28, 2013.   (Victor R. Caivano)
A pilgrim prays after a vigil in Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, July 28, 2013. Hundreds of thousands slept under chilly skies in the white sand awaiting Pope Francis’ final Mass.
A pilgrim prays after a vigil in Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, July 28, 2013. Hundreds of thousands slept under chilly skies in the white sand awaiting Pope Francis’ final Mass.   (Jorge Saenz)
Pilgrims carry a large puppet representing Jesus as the sun raises over Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, July 28, 2013.
Pilgrims carry a large puppet representing Jesus as the sun raises over Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, July 28, 2013.   (Jorge Saenzun)
Pope Francis looks out at pilgrims as rides in his popemobile along the Copacabana beachfront on his way to celebrate Mass in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, July 28, 2013.
Pope Francis looks out at pilgrims as rides in his popemobile along the Copacabana beachfront on his way to celebrate Mass in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, July 28, 2013.   (Jorge Saenz)
Clergy attend a Mass celebrated by Pope Francis on the Copacabana beachfront, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, July 28, 2013.
Clergy attend a Mass celebrated by Pope Francis on the Copacabana beachfront, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, July 28, 2013.   (Felipe Dana)
Pope Francis celebrates Mass on Copacabana beach, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, July 28, 2013. Francis wrapped up his historic trip to his home continent with a Mass that drew 3 million.
Pope Francis celebrates Mass on Copacabana beach, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, July 28, 2013. Francis wrapped up his historic trip to his home continent with a Mass that drew 3 million.   (Victor R. Caivano)
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