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Pope Francis leaves Brazil
Some say it was the biggest outdoor mass in history. Pope Francis concluded his visit to Brazil today -- joined by millions of the faithful who turned out in a rapturous farewell.
At the edge of the sea ... A sea of humanity. On his final day in their country, Brazilians gave Pope Francis a spectacular sendoff.
The gigantic crowds that have turned out to greet the pontiff... Turned out to be merely a prelude to today’s. As many as three million people swarmed Rio de Janiero's Copacabana beach, transforming what is usually a playground into a vast, open-air cathedral with the sky as its ceiling.
With song and with dance, the faithful lavished affection on their spiritual leader. The pope appeared in a now-familiar scene -- mingling with the crowds --accepting a drink from one person -- and kissing a child. Francis led worshippers in the sign of the cross to begin the mass. And his homily was also familiar: Get out in the world and preach the Catholic religion.
“Experiencing faith with young people who have come from all four corners of the globe,” said the Pontiff. “Now, you must go and transmit this experience to others. Jesus calls you to be missionary disciples.”
As he spoke, the people prayed, some moved to tears. Pilgrims had arrived many hours earlier to stake out a place at the service. Some said it looked like a giant outdoor slumber party.
Us pilgrim Matthew Biaggi said, “The thing about the pilgrimage, I think is that you always feel it's something you want to strive for."
“I have never seen anything here in Rio,” said this young woman, as marvelous as what we have just experienced.
Whatever else he may have accomplished, Francis returns to Rome leaving no doubt that his unofficial title of The People's Pope is richly deserved.