Organizers estimate 2 million in Rio for pope

Associated Press
Cardinals meet with Pope Francis at St Joaquim Palace in Rio de Janeiro, Saturday, July 27, 2013. Pope Francis took his message to shake up the Catholic Church to bishops from around the world on Saturday, challenging them to get out of their churches and go to the farthest margins of society to find the faithful and preach. (AP Photo/Luca Zennaro, Pool)
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RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Organizers estimate that some 2 million people have come out to Copacabana beach for the final evening of World Youth day with Pope Francis.

Francis headed into the final hours of his first international trip riding a remarkable wave of popularity: Rio's mayor estimated that as many as 3 million people might turn out for his final Mass on Sunday, and by the time Francis' open-sided car reached the stage for Saturday night's vigil service, the back seat was piled high with soccer jerseys, flags and flowers tossed to him by adoring pilgrims lining the route.

The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said organizers had estimated 2 million people were on hand for the vigil. That's twice as many as there were at the last World Youth Day vigil in Madrid in 2011.

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