MANILA, Philippines (AP) – Manila city officials and the Vatican say Pope Francis is a record-holder on his final day in the Philippines after some 6 million people ignored steady rain and attended the pontiff’s final Mass or lined his motorcade route.
A Vatican spokesman says the Holy See had been told by local officials that the figure was between 6 million and 7 million. The papal mass of St. John Paul II drew 5 million in 1995.
Pope Francis appealed to Filipinos to protect their children from sin and vice. And he made the appeal more personal by embracing a 12-year-old rescued street child who wept in his arms over the plight of abandoned children forced into prostitution and drug use.
Francis wore the same cheap, plastic yellow rain poncho handed out to the masses during his visit to typhoon-hit Tacloban a day earlier.