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WYD Rio: 1 million youth celebrate Pope Francis on Copacobana beach

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis joined hundreds of thousands of young people for a lively song and prayer fest on Rio de Janeiro’s famous Copacobana beach on Thursday. It was his first official encounter with young people as part of World Youth Day celebrations in Brazil.
Our correspondent, Sean Patrick Lovett, is in Rio with Pope Francis. He sends us this report -Listen: RealAudioMP3

It would have been easy (and, I admit, it was tempting) to draw comparisons between the sea of young people and the ocean of water beside which they were gathered, to compare the roar of the waves with the waving, roaring crowd – and to make the inevitable links with biblical symbols involving water, seas…and fishermen.
It would have been enlightening (if you like that sort of thing) to concentrate on the numbers, which were certainly impressive: 175 countries, 1,000 Bishops, 300 performers and, most important of all, over a million people…not all of them young.
It would have been entertaining (but unnecessary) to search for superlatives with which to describe Pope Francis’ first encounter with young people from every corner of the globe during the so-called welcoming celebration that effectively marks the first of main World Youth Day events…and his own first WYD.
It would have been excessive (and repetitive) to complain about the rain, yet again… and to describe how the weather blew out the communications links for several interminable minutes.
It would have been instructive (and important) to comment on each of the improvised additions Pope Francis made to his prepared discourse: “Young people are stronger than the rain”, he said…”Benedict is watching you, he accompanies us with his prayers”, he confided…”Faith revolutionizes our lives”, he stressed…
Doubtless, all this would have guaranteed a much more interesting correspondent’s report – but it wouldn’t have communicated any of the beauty and the poetry of the occasion, the sounds and the colours, the songs and the choreographies, the expressions of Pope Francis as he drove through the throng exchanging gestures, emotions, and even his zucchetto. Unfortunately, there are limitations to being a correspondent and to writing reports. I hope you understand.