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Record Six Million People Attend Mass With Pope Francis In The Philippines

A multitude of the faithful waited in the rain to see the Pope Sunday.

Posted on January 18, 2015, at 6:53 a.m. ET

REUTERS © Stringer Philippines / Reuter

Pope Francis finished his visit to the Philippines Sunday with a mass in Manila's Rizal Park. According to the Associated Press, 6 million people attended.

Vatican officials reported the staggering attendance numbers, saying they received them from local authorities. The numbers break a previous record set in the Philippines when 5 million people attended a mass with Pope John Paul II in 1995.

A crowd in Rizal Park gathers for a mass with Pope Francis.
EPA ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES / HANDOUT

A crowd in Rizal Park gathers for a mass with Pope Francis.

To put that into context, the population of Los Angeles is only 3.8 million. So the gathering was as if all of L.A. plus a bunch of suburbs all converged for mass in one place.

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Nuns wear raincoats at a mass in Manila Sunday.
REUTERS © Erik de Castro / Reuters

Nuns wear raincoats at a mass in Manila Sunday.

The crowd covered 148 acres and came out despite steady rainfall, AFP reported.

AP Wally Santana

The mass took place on the feast day of Santo Nino, a significant day for Filipino Catholics, according to the AP. Some who attended carried images of Jesus as an infant to celebrate.

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AP Alessandra Tarantino

Francis wore a thin yellow poncho as he entered the park, much like those there to see him. He arrived on a modified jeepney, a common public transit vehicle in the Philippines, the BBC reported.

AP Bullit Marquez

Attendees prayed, cheered, and waved as Francis arrived.

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A Filipino nun prays during a downpour prior to a mass in Manila Sunday.
EPA DENNIS M. SABANGAN

A Filipino nun prays during a downpour prior to a mass in Manila Sunday.

Francis dedicated his homily to children, the AP reported.

AP Bullit Marquez

"We need to see each child as a gift to be welcomed, cherished, and protected," Francis said during his homily.

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AP Alessandra Tarantino

Francis' arrival in the Philippines, which was part of a six-day tour of Asia, marked the fourth time a pope has visited the country, The Wall Street Journal reported.

A Filipino father holds his son during a downpour prior to Francis' mass.
EPA ZALRIAN Z. SAYAT

A Filipino father holds his son during a downpour prior to Francis' mass.

Also on Sunday, Francis visited the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, where he drew a crowd of 200,000.

AP Aaron Favila
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