SAO PAULO, Brazil — At least 3 million pilgrims packed Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana beach Sunday morning, many having slept there overnight, in order to secure their spot for the final Mass of Pope Francis during his trip to Brazil for World Youth Day celebrations.
Many of the Catholics from around the world who flooded Rio's most famous beach to see the first South American pope on his last day in Brazil slept in the sand in sleeping bags and tents after attending an all-night vigil, also led by the Pope.
Sunday marks his second day addressing faithfuls gathered on Copacabana. On Saturday, Francis spoke to a crowd estimated at more than 2 million people.
In his speech, the Pope encouraged youth in Brazil, who have been protesting against corruption in their country for the past two months, to continue trying to change society by fighting apathy and giving "a Christian response."
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"The young people in the street are the ones who want to be actors of change. Please don't let others be actors of change," he told the crowd at the vigil.
"Keep overcoming apathy and offering a Christian response to the social and political concerns taking place in different parts of the world."
He also commented on the "intellectual" message of his predecessor, Benedict XVI, and told bishops that ordinary Catholics didn't understand such lofty ideas and needed to hear the simpler message of love, forgiveness and mercy, which is at the core of the Catholic faith.
"At times we lose people because they don't understand what we are saying, because we have forgotten the language of simplicity and import an intellectualism foreign to our people," he said. "Without the grammar of simplicity, the church loses the very conditions which make it possible to fish for God in the deep waters of his mystery."
The pontiff also urged pilgrims not to be "part-time Christians" and to lead full, meaningful lives.