.- Over three million Catholic pilgrims from around the world attended the final Mass at World Youth Day on Sunday, making the 2013 event the largest of its kind since 1995.
Crowds of pilgrims from dozens of countries thronged Copacabana Beach for the final World Youth Day Mass with Pope Francis July 28.
The mayor’s office of Rio di Janeiro estimated that 3.2 million people attended the final World Youth Day Mass at Copacabana Beach.
Another 3 million people attended the prayer vigil with the Pope on Saturday, according to the mayor’s office and police estimates.
The 1995 World Youth Day Mass with Pope John Paul II, held in Manila in the Philippines, remains the most attended. An estimated 4 to 5 million people attended that event.
Over 350,000 pilgrims registered for the event, with more than 200,000 from Brazil. About 20,000 pilgrims registered from Argentina, the Pope’s home country.
At least 9,500 U.S. youth from 650 groups attended the event, the U.S. bishops’ conference reports. Thirty-six U.S. bishops attended, including Cardinals Timothy Dolan of New York and Sean O’Malley of Boston and Archbishops Samuel Aquila of Denver, Charles Chaput of Philadelphia, Gustavo Garcia-Siller of San Antonio and Jerome Listecki of Milwaukee.
About two million attended World Youth Day events in Rome in 2000, while 1.6 million attended the global event at Czestochowa, Poland in 1991.
World Youth Day will return to Poland in 2016, when the city of Krakow will host. The first World Youth Day took place in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1987.
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