Paulo Whitaker / Reuters
Pilgrims lie in sleeping bags at sunrise on Copacabana Beach ahead of Pope Francis' Sunday mass in Rio de Janeiro, Sunday.
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil - At least 3 million people jammed Copacabana beach early Sunday – many of them having slept overnight to secure their spot at the Pope’s final Mass of his trip to Brazil.
Normally a sea of bikinis and swimshorts, the world-famous beach was instead packed with Bibles, rosaries and crucifixes as pilgrims gathered to hear Pope Francis.
He is due to celebrate Mass on Sunday, the climax of his week-long trip to the city and neighboring Sao Paulo.
Many of the crowd spent the night in sleeping bags.
Vanderlei Almeida / AFP - Getty Images
Catholic pilgrims on Copacabana beach, Sunday.
It will be his second day addressing the beach. On Saturday, he spoke there to a crowd estimated by the Vatican to be more than 2 million.
In his speech, he encouraged Brazil's young people, who have protested against corruption in their country, to continue their efforts to change society by fighting apathy and offering "a Christian response."
He received yet another rapturous reception, stopping his popemobile several times to kiss babies.
On Thursday, Pope Francis underlined his mission to lead a “church for the poor” Thursday, preaching against “selfishness and individualism” in an address to a rain-soaked Rio slum.
He was cheered by residents of the Varginha favela who hung out of windows and stood on rooftops just to get a glimpse he gave his address from a vast, muddy soccer field.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
First published July 28 2013, 5:51 AM