Nightly News   |  July 28, 2013

Millions gather as World Youth Day comes to a close

Millions celebrated the final Mass of World Youth Day in Brazil on Sunday, with Pope Francis exciting the faithful with his accessibility and humility. NBC’s Anne Thompson reports.

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>>> in bra dill today, pope francis celebrated the final mass of world youth day drawing the largest crowds of the week-long event. we're traveling with the pope and we have that story for you tonight.

>> reporter: not many masses start like this.

>> reporter: more than 3 million people doing a flash mob dance. but then not every sunday mass is celebrated by pope francis . during this world youth day event, the pope sought to bridge divided, the old and young, rich and poor, and most importantly, the church its people. this group from wisconsin joining the parade of 180 nations on the beach.

>> it's really incredible to know that there's poem from all the different nations that are doing the same thing that we are.

>> reporter: throughout the week to connect with the massive crowd, he followed the add advice of predecessor and use word. he reached out to the people and was mobbed -- create. indij nus people, blessing and kissing children lifted to him, creating a permanent bond that florida's angela will remember all her life.

>> not many people get to say that. i was standing five feet away from the pope.

>> reporter: this man is one of a dozen young pilgrims invited to lunch with him.

>> he didn't ask us to do big things , but all the small things but with faith and love in your own communities.

>> he wanted the church to go out to the people. embracing recovering addicts and walking through one of the poorest and most dangerous neighbors.

>> many priests and bishops are now aware of this new tone that francis seems to be inviting the church to. and they're making choices, they're saying, almost, what would francis do?

>> reporter: the challenge now is can they take the excitement generated by francis and use it to stop the exodus of