July 28th, 2013
10:17 AM ET
Pope to Mass of millions: Get out of church
By Eric Marrapodi and Miguel Marquez, CNN
Rio de Janeiro (CNN) - Pope Francis closed out World Youth Day with a final Mass before a giant crowd of millions on Copacabana Beach.
"Go, do not be afraid, and serve," the pope told the crowd Sunday.
Catholic pilgrims from around the world traveled to Brazil for the weeklong celebration and a chance to see the pontiff, whose visit was a shot in the arm for a church that has seen its share of scandal and troubles.
Massive crowds followed Francis at every stop on the trip. Organizers and local officials said 1.5 million people came out for the Way of the Cross observance on Friday.
The mayor's office in Rio said final estimates for a prayer vigil on Saturday could reach up to 3 million. On Sunday, the Vatican citing civil authorizes put the crowd for the final Mass over 3 million.
July 28th, 2013
08:56 AM ET
What we learned about Pope Francis in Brazil
By John L. Allen Jr., CNN
Rio de Janeiro (CNN) - We didn’t need Pope Francis’ trip to Brazil this week to grasp that the new pontiff, who’s set a tone of simplicity and love for ordinary people, is a hit.
Polls around the world show approval ratings that would be the envy of any politician or celebrity, while vast crowds show up in Rome for even his most routine activities.
What Brazil confirmed, perhaps, is that his act plays as well on the road as at home.
During his week in Brazil for World Youth Day, an international Catholic event, mob scenes erupted everywhere Francis went, despite cold temperatures and driving rain for much of the week.
About this blog
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.