Pope leaves Brazil after giant beach mass
RIO DE JANEIRO (AFP) - Pope Francis left Brazil late Sunday after leading a giant beach mass for three million pilgrims, ending his historic trip to reignite Catholic passion with pleas for a humbler Church.
The first Latin American-born pontiff flew back to Rome hours after addressing a sea of faithful who waved flags, danced and chanted "long live the pope!" on the crescent-shaped shoreline of Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana beach.
"I depart with many happy memories which I know will nourish my prayers. Already I am beginning to miss Brazil, this great people showing so much affection and friendship," the pope said before boarding his plane.
Before ending his first trip abroad since his election in March, the head of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics urged young believers gathered for World Youth Day, a religious event, to "go and make disciples of all nations." "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," the 76-year-old Argentine said as scores of people took a dip in the ocean.