Pope to Mass of millions: Get out of church
Hundreds of thousands crowd Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, waiting for Pope Francis to lead a worship service.
July 28th, 2013
10:17 AM ET

Pope to Mass of millions: Get out of church

By Eric Marrapodi and Miguel Marquez, CNN
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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.

Helicopter shots showed crowds that stretched shoulder to shoulder for two miles, lining the beach and the streets, where pilgrims had camped out overnight as part of the prayer vigil.

As the "popemobile" made its way down Avenue Atlantica for a final time on this trip, the military lined both sides of the street along with volunteers keeping the crowds further back from pope.

Security guards continued to bring infants to the pope to bless and even began lifting disabled persons in wheelchairs up to for a blessing from the pontiff.

During his homily the pope admonished the crowd to go and share their faith: "The experience of this encounter must not remain locked up in your life or in the small group of your parish, your movement, or your community."

"Do not be afraid to go and to bring Christ into every area of life, to the fringes of society, even to those who seem farthest away, most indifferent," he said.

The pope said the message applied all the more to the young people from Latin America.

In Brazil over the past three decades the Catholic Church has slipped significantly, dropping from 90% to 65% of the population.

"Evangelizing means bearing personal witness to the love of God," the pope said. "It is overcoming our selfishness, it is serving by bending down to wash the feet of our brethren, as Jesus did."

That message, he said, "is bringing God's power to pluck up and break down evil and violence, to destroy and overthrow the barriers of selfishness, intolerance and hatred, so as to build a new world."

After the pope had concluded his sermon, organizers asked for a moment of silence from the giant crowd. During the moment of silence the crashing waves could be heard.

Before the Mass began, the group participated in a giant flash mob featuring a coordinated dance. Bishops on the stage in their white vestments and pointed miter hats danced along with the throng on the beach to the official World Youth Day song. Organizers said they hoped this would be the largest flash mob in history.

At the conclusion of the service the pope announced, "We have an appointment for the next World Youth Day in 2016 in Krakow, Poland."

Pope John Paul II was the bishop of Krakow. This month, Francis signed off on a second miracle for the long serving and popular pope, allowing the church to declare him a saint. A formal date for the canonization has yet to be announced.

The pope concludes his first international trip on Sunday and returns to the Vatican.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Americas • Brazil • Catholic Church • Christianity • Pope Francis • Vatican

soundoff (234 Responses)
  1. Prophecies about World War III

    Mother of Salvation: A new, bitter world war will be declared
    Friday, September 6th, 2013

    My dear child, I must, on the instructions of my Son, Jesus Christ, reveal that the wars, which will unfold now, in the Middle East, will herald the great battle, as a new, bitter world war will be declared.

    How this breaks the Sacred Heart of my poor suffering Son. The hatred, which infuses the hearts of those leaders, entrusted with the responsibility of running their countries, by ordinary people, will spread. They will betray their own nations. Millions will be killed and many nations will be involved. You must know that the souls of those who will be murdered and who are innocent of any crime will be saved by my Son.

    The speed of these wars will escalate and no sooner will four parts of the world become involved than the Great War will be announced. Sadly, nuclear weapons will be used and many will suffer. It will be a frightening war, but it will not last long.

    Pray, pray, pray for all the innocent souls and continue to recite my Most Holy Rosary, three times a day, in order to ease the suffering, which will result because of World War III.

    Thank you, my child, for responding to my call. Know that there is great sadness in Heaven at this time and it is with a heavy heart that I bring you this difficult news.

    Your Mother

    Mother of Salvation

    Read more http://www.thewarningsecondcoming.com

    September 18, 2013 at 6:32 pm |
    • JMarie

      You are correct. Your whole writing and quotes are correct. Sorrry to say but this Pope is a real joke. Plus his remark "who amd I to judge the gays?" is goofy. who asked him...I thought a Pope was to enforce rules. God have mercy. No one said to not allow them to go to church etc. but that is a sick statement. He is a real joke. Satan is at work more than ever everywhere and esp in the church.

      November 12, 2013 at 2:31 am |
      • Observer


        Sklp the HYPOCRISY. If you really cared about s3xual sins, you'd be trying to stop the MUCH MUCH BIGGER problem of Christians who are ADULTERERS because of divorce and remarriage.

        Just pick and choose what you like from the Bible.

        November 12, 2013 at 2:34 am |
  2. I Like Jesus

    A great website for Jesus' followers:

    August 21, 2013 at 12:08 am |
  3. The Eternal Satyr

    www . jesusneverexisted . com
    www . truthbeknown . com

    August 19, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
  4. Lindsey

    Did the 25% that dropped out of the Catholic Church join the Protestant faith? That is a key question in this article!

    August 18, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
    • patrick

      nope- we all grew up and left religion entirely. Now we think its time you all did the same, imagine all the problems in this world that would be solved if everyone stopped believing in fairys and make believe stories...

      August 19, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
      • dannyzihua

        Well patrick what YOU did is one of the steps that the Bible asks of Us to do and that is to get out of Her (Rev 18:4) It is true that she has blinded the minds of many with Her false storys and keeped mans traditions then God´s... Never did she care for the sheep (Mat 9:36) Her history from the start was just to diviate the People from serving God (Yhwh) Jehovah and not teaching the true role of Jesus for mankind. All she has done was give the sheep to the wolves, she is guilty of the blood of many.

        August 20, 2013 at 10:52 am |
      • Al

        Or perhaps we could all be respectful of each others' beliefs instead of insulting each other? Yeah, that would work much better and would've averted much trouble over the centuries.

        August 22, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
  5. M

    A great website for Christians AND Catholics alike:

    August 9, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
    • one

      All this division. Since when aren't Catholics christian? This is not what we know of Christ's teachings. Get over your self-righteous judgement. This is why people cannot tolerate modern "Christians".

      August 17, 2013 at 8:04 pm |
  6. dannyzihua

    "Go, do not be afraid, and serve," the Pope told the crowd Sunday. What does this imply and do what how are they guided to do what to talk about what to say what, How??????' He send but with what in hand.......??

    July 30, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
    • harleybird

      And there is only one organization striving to live like Christ and follow Matt 24:14. Visit http://www.jw.org for more information.

      July 30, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
      • ...

        Harley, JW talk about Christ but they don't KNOW Him.

        July 30, 2013 at 10:51 pm |
        • harleybird

          What makes you think that? Visit jw.org and I think you'll soon be able to file that under myths about JWs.

          July 31, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
      • Kr

        Jehovah is not even the correct name for God in the Scriptures. It's YHWH, sacredly pronounced YAHWEH which should be said only on important holy days for the Jews. http://www.bible.ca/jw-YHWH.htm

        August 5, 2013 at 5:08 pm |
        • dannyzihua

          Kr, what you say is true. sad to say WE have lost the correct way of saying Gods name, But that is not a reason for US not to use it, though out history and on many very old Building even on Churches you can see HIS name, Ihova, Jehovah, Yawhe, ect the thing is to say it. It is the name of the God that made everything and gave us life (not taking about Jesus) It is was distinguishes Him from false gods Something that also man has lost to see the diffrence. as an example Why do you not use your real man?? Kr is it a name???

          August 6, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
  7. Bubba

    Amazing message to Christians: Get out, and do something other than talk about how mighty our God is. Problem is, the Christian faith has always been more about benefits than service. We Christians talk a good game, but do so little to emulate a Living Savior Who Gave All. If American Christians really lived the life Jesus promoted, there would be no poverty in America, but thanks to the GOP's redefining Christianity, we now get to ignore the poor, and use the Tax Cuts to buy a new boat. Sucks to be poor in a land of such devout Christians.

    July 30, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
    • dannyzihua

      Matthew 24:14 says something very importent and there is only one group that is fulfilling this and they are NOT the Mormans, and the world hates them for doing this fine work.

      July 30, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
    • ...

      Bubba, you've got that right!

      July 30, 2013 at 10:52 pm |
  8. One one

    Wow ! With a crowd like that he must have passed the collection plate.

    July 30, 2013 at 7:07 am |
  9. danny

    the history of roman empire and jesus knows all over the world,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,roman empire or vatican is the responsible for the death of jesus and other worker of the god in ancient year,,,,, now,, roman catholics use here victim,,,,jesus,,, to create a money,,,, are you still blind people to this false religion ?

    July 30, 2013 at 1:36 am |
    • Heads Up


      All religions are false.

      July 30, 2013 at 1:42 am |
      • dannyzihua

        Matthew 7:16, John 10:27-30, (or read from vers1 on) One can find what Jesus said

        August 16, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
  10. EX catholic

    Usually both sins go hand in hand, hom-os and idolaters. Idolatry is not religion Idolatry is a sin

    July 29, 2013 at 8:10 pm |
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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.