Pope Francis, wearing a raincoat, waves to well-wishers during a meeting with youths at the University of Santo Tomas (UST) in Manila January 18, 2015. REUTERS/Ezra Acayan
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An estimated 3 million people filled Manila's main park and surrounding areas for Pope Francis' final Mass in the Philippines Sunday, braving a steady rain to hear the pontiff's message of hope and consolation for the Southeast Asian country's most downtrodden and destitute.Francis made a triumphant entry into Manila's Rizal Park riding on a popemobile based on the design of a jeepney, the modified U.S. Army World War II jeep that is a common means of public transport here. With two hours to go, the chairman of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, Francis Tolentino, reported 3 million had packed the park and surrounding streets.Francis has dedicated his four-day trip to the Philippines to the poor.A steady rain from the same tropical storm that forced Francis to cut short his visit to Tacloban Saturday fell on the crowd, but it didn't seem to dampen spirits of Filipinos who streamed into the capital for Francis' final day.Some pilgrims carried images of the infant Jesus: Francis' Mass falls on a major Catholic feast day here, the Santo Nino.Rommel Monton, a 28-year-old call center agent, said he was struck by Francis' willingness to practice what he preaches, particularly as it concerns the poor.
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