‘The Church is young!’

Millions of young pilgrims from around the globe — including more than 9,500 young people from the United States — soaked in the spirit of the Catholic Faith July 23-28 in rain-drenched Rio de Janeiro for World Youth Day.

More than 400,000 pilgrims gathered at Copacabana beach for the opening Mass, and that number swelled to 3 million for the July 27 vigil and July 28 closing Mass with Pope Francis on the beach. In between, pilgrims took part in catechetical sessions, attended a vocations fair, sought reconciliation and prayed the Rosary, along with having some fun on the beach.

They also heard Pope Francis, making his first international visit as pontiff, urge them to “put on Christ” in their lives and to be joyful witnesses to the Gospel in their home communities and beyond borders.

“Put on hope and every one of your days will be enlightened and your horizon will no longer be dark,” he said to the pilgrims July 25. “Put on love and your life will be like a house built on rock, your journey will be joyful because you will find many friends to journey with you.”

Before the final Mass, the pope announced the next World Youth Day would be in Krakow, Poland, in 2016.

World Youth Day 2013

closing liturgy

CLOSING LITURGY: Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass of World Youth Day 2013 on Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro July 28. Newscom

pilgrims

FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT: Pilgrims cheer during the opening ceremony of World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro on July 23. Young people endured rain and wind on Copacabana beach as they gathered for the event’s welcome ceremony and opening Mass. CNS photo by Paul Haring

welcome

JOYOUS WELCOME: Pope Francis greets pilgrims as he arrives at Brazil’s Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida on July 24. Large crowds greeted the pontiff on his trips throughout Rio. CNS photo from Reuters

Mass

PRAYERS TO OUR LADY OF APARECIDA: Pope Francis celebrates Mass at Brazil’s Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida July 24. During his visit, the pope entrusted World Youth Day to Mary’s maternal protection, but also challenged parents, priests and other adult Catholics to give the young people things that the world, with all its wealth, cannot: faith and values. CNS photo by Paul Haring

cardinal Dolan

CATECHIZING CARDINAL: New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, leader of one of the English-language catechetical sessions, distributes Communion during Mass at the Rio Vivo Welcome Center in Rio de Janeiro July 24. CNS photo by Tyler Orsburn

Mass on beach

OPENING MASS: Brazilian Archbishop Orani Joao Tempesta of Rio de Janeiro celebrates the opening Mass of World Youth Day on Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro July 23. More than 400,000 pilgrims attended. CNS photo from Reuters

flags

INTERNATIONAL FLAVOR: Pilgrims wave flags during the opening ceremony of World Youth Day on Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro on July 23. CNS photo from Reuters

confession

CONFESSION IN THE PARK: A priest hears confession from a young woman at the temporary confessional booths set up at Quinta da Boa Vista Park during World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro July 24. CNS photo from Reuters

blessing

PAPAL BLESSING: Pope Francis blesses a boy in the Varginha favela, or slum, in Rio de Janeiro July 25, during his weeklong visit to Brazil for World Youth Day. CNS photo by Paul Haring

greeting

BOISTEROUS GREETING: Residents cheer as Pope Francis arrives for a visit at the Varginha favela, or slum, in Rio de Janeiro July 25, during his weeklong visit to Brazil for World Youth Day. CNS photo by Paul Haring

party

SLUMBER PARTY: A pilgrim walks Copacabana beach July 28 in Rio de Janeiro. Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims camped out for the vigil and closing Mass. CNS photo by Tyler Orsburn

closing mass

3 MILLION STRONG: Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass of World Youth Day on Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro July 28. An estimated 3 million people attended the Mass — one of the largest crowds in the history of World Youth Day. CNS photo from Reuters

hug

HOLY FATHER HUG: Pope Francis embraces a young woman during the welcoming ceremony on Copacabana beach on July 25. CNS photo by Paul Haring