Pope Francis PH Visit Breaks Records for World’s Largest Papal Crowd

Pope Francis PH 2015 Luneta crowd

Screengrab Credit: Rappler YouTube video

The Pope Francis PH Visit breaks world records for having the largest papal crowd, as he conducted a mass at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila this Sunday, January 18, 2015. The holy mass started at around 3:30 pm, local time, and was attended by estimated 6 million Catholics in the country.

As seen live on TV and online, the Holy Father arrived the area at around 2:45 pm. Before proceeding to the Quirino Grandstand proper, the pontiff made some few detours so that he could interact closely with the crowd, with many of them waiting for him as early as Saturday night.

With President Noynoy Aquino arriving a few minutes later, the pope was greeted by a 1,000-member choir. Supported by the orchestra with more than 200 members, the choir sang “Gloria” as the start of the concluding mass of Pope Francis. MMDA officers were earlier seen wearing adult diapers.

A blind girl delivered the first reading, while a student from the San Carlos Seminary delivered the second reading. Local singer Erik Santos led the singing of the responsorial psalm, with Pope Francis delivering the mass mainly in English language but also spoke Spanish.

During this homily, Pope Francis stressed out that each child “is a gift to be welcomed, cherished, and protected.” The Holy See ended his homily by saying, “May the Sto Niño continue to bless the Philippines.” The choir sang “Ama Namin” (Our Father) in Filipino language.

On the stage, Pope Francis was accompanied by Manila Archbishop Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle and a number of bishops. The rainy weather forced the crowd to wear raincoats because using umbrellas was not allowed. The mass ended at around 5 pm with the choir singing “Tell the World of His Love”.

But instead of returning immediately Apostolic Nunciature, the Popemobile moved through the entire Luneta quadrant and stopped from time to time. Jamie Rivera sings “We are all God’s Children “as Pope Francis greets the crowd with all smiled and even kissed a baby.

“We cannot determine the official count of the sea of people who went today. But based on aerial coverage, we can see that indeed the Pope Francis Luneta mass has created a new record. MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said in an ambush interview.

“You can see how many Filipinos are very eager to see him, every time the Popemobile passes by. But above all, we are very happy that Pope Francis is safe. I’m sure that the Philippine government is doing its best to protect the Holy Father until he leaves our country.” Tolentino added.

As of posting, the Philippines hold the record for the largest papal crowd according to Guinness Book of World Records. This happened during the World Youth Day 1995 when Pope John Paul II led the event, where more than 5 million people attended. It was the pope’s second visit to the country since 1981.

Guinness has no official statement yet about the amount of people who attend the mass of Pope Francis in Luneta, but a representative was present to assess the crowd. Yesterday, the pope held a mass in Tacloban for the Typhoon Yolanda victims. He will return to Rome tomorrow, Monday, January 19.

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