Pope Francis' weeklong trip to Brazil ends

Associated Press
Pope Francis waves from his popemobile along the Copacabana beachfront on his way to celebrate Mass in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, July 28, 2013. Hundreds of thousands of young people slept under chilly skies in the white sand awaiting Francis’ final Mass for World Youth Day. (AP Photo/Jorge Saenz)

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RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Pope Francis has taken off from Rio de Janeiro's international airport, ending a weeklong visit to Brazil that drew an estimated 3 million people onto the sands of Copacabana beach on his final day.

The trip marked the first international foray for the Argentine-born pontiff and his first voyage back to his home continent since becoming pope in March.

The visit was hailed as a success by church officials, pilgrims and the faithful in the world's largest Catholic country, although it was marked by major organizational snags.

Francis' schedule Sunday included a Mass attended by millions and meetings with regional clergy and thousands of volunteers.

The pope's return to Italy marked the end of the World Youth Day, a gathering that will next take place in Krakow, Poland, in 2016.

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