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Millions Attend Papal Mass In Manila


Millions of people have attended Pope Francis' Sunday Mass in Manila despite heavy rains that threatened to cancel the event.

The Vatican claimed that 6 million-7 million people gathered in Manila's Rizal Park to listen to the pope, who dedicated the service in part to the victims of the deadly 2013 Typhoon Haiyan that devastated one of Philippine's poorest regions.

The pope also dedicated the final homily of his six-day tour of Asia to children.

"We need to care for our young people, not allowing them to be robbed of hope and condemned to a life on the streets," he said.

The Philippines is home to some 80 million Catholics.

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi was quoted by Reuters as saying the office of the president gave the Vatican the attendance figures for the mass in Manila's Rizal Park and surrounding areas.

"We are not able to count all these people, obviously, or to verify this, but in any case, we have seen so many people that we believe that it is possible," Lombardi told reporters. "If this is true, and we think it is, this is the largest event in the history of the popes," he said, adding that Pope John Paul II drew some 5 million to the same area in 1995.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP
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