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Record Six Million People Attend Mass With Pope Francis In The Philippines

A multitude of the faithful waited in the rain to see the Pope Sunday.

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Pope Francis finished his visit to the Philippines Sunday with a mass in Manila's Rizal Park. According to the Associated Press, 6 million people attended.

Vatican officials reported the staggering attendance numbers, saying they received them from local authorities. The numbers break a previous record set in the Philippines when 5 million people attended a mass with Pope John Paul II in 1995.

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To put that into context, the population of Los Angeles is only 3.8 million. So the gathering was as if all of L.A. plus a bunch of suburbs all converged for mass in one place.

The crowd covered 148 acres and came out despite steady rainfall, AFP reported.

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The mass took place on the feast day of Santo Nino, a significant day for Filipino Catholics, according to the AP. Some who attended carried images of Jesus as an infant to celebrate.

Francis wore a thin yellow poncho as he entered the park, much like those there to see him. He arrived on a modified jeepney, a common public transit vehicle in the Philippines, the BBC reported.

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"We need to see each child as a gift to be welcomed, cherished, and protected," Francis said during his homily.

Francis' arrival in the Philippines, which was part of a six-day tour of Asia, marked the fourth time a pope has visited the country, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Also on Sunday, Francis visited the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, where he drew a crowd of 200,000.

Jim Dalrymple is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.

Contact Jim Dalrymple II at jim.dalrymple@buzzfeed.com.

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