Nightly News   |  July 25, 2013

Nearly 1 million welcome Pope Francis on Copacabana beach

Earlier in the day, the Pope visited one of Rio’s favelas, where one in five of the city’s residents live. NBC’s Anne Thompson reports.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> want to take you to a scene unfolding on copacabana beach in rio where a sea of the faithful have turned out to see the pope. there on an elaborate stage they were expecting up to 1 million people. from the looks of it they have come close to the goal. nbc's anne thompson covers his trip from an amazing vantage point high above the beach. anne, good evening.

>> good evening, brian. a remarkable sight. a massive crowd one that rivals new year's eve on the sand. as pope francis end the day that took him to both side of the city. pope francis is the man electrifying brazil. he takes every picture. kisses every baby. accepts every gift. an energetic pope the world has not seen in decades. tonight, enthusiastically welcomed by nearly 1 million young people on copacabana beach .

>> i'm so excited!

>> reporter: staking their places early. as warships patrolled the coast and soldiers walked the tourist-filled streets. this morning, francis happily went where few go, one of rio 's flavelas where one in five of the residents live, rampant with drugs, gangs and crime. here people who exist on as little as $1.30 hung out at crumbling cinder block homes and lined the streets to see the man who wants to lead a church for the poor. they sang and danced on the soccer field where the pope spoke.

>> happy, happy, happy.

>> reporter: as sharpshooters kept watch. the pope's visit won't put a roof over anyone's head or food on their table but it does bring hope. in this country of extreme wealth and poverty, francis called on the rich to do more to help the poor. saying society is measured by how it treats those with the least. he lead by example. as approachable as a parish priest . and something francis may just be the leader who could get brazilians and catholics around the world back to church. while not directly addressing anti-government protesters, pope francis did urge young people not to be discouraged by corruption. and told them to work for the common good. brian.

>> anne thompson high above copacabana beach in rio . thanks.