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Dancing nuns, 5K heroes: The week's best photos

Aug. 2, 2013 at 8:27 AM ET

From Rio de Janeiro's beaches packed with the devout to a small Michigan town's 5K finish line, the week brought images from around the world that inspired, impressed and disturbed. TODAY's Picture Perfect series takes a look at the stories behind the week's most powerful photos.

1. Brazilians greet Pope Francis

Nuns dance as they wait for the start of a vigil on Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro.
Luca Zennaro / AP
Nuns dance as they wait for the start of a vigil on Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro.

More than 3 million people turned out on Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana beach this week to hear Pope Francis celebrate the final Mass of his week-long trip to Brazil.

Pope Francis waves from the Popemobile as he arrives to celebrate Mass on Copacabana beach.
Buda Mendes / Getty Images
Pope Francis waves from the Popemobile as he arrives to celebrate Mass on Copacabana beach.
Crowds gather on Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro for the final mass of the pope's week-long visit.
Vanderlei Almeida / AFP - Getty Images
Crowds gather on Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro for the final mass of the pope's week-long visit.
Pilgrims watch Pope Francis on a video screen as he celebrates mass on Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro.
Stringer/Brazil / Reuters
Pilgrims watch Pope Francis on a video screen as he celebrates mass on Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro.

2. Castro sentenced to life; victim speaks out

Ariel Castro and Michelle Knight during Castro's sentencing phase in Cleveland.
AP
Ariel Castro and Michelle Knight during Castro's sentencing phase in Cleveland.

Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro was sentenced to life in prison Thursday after a hearing that revealed disturbing details of his crimes. One of his victims, Michelle Knight, spoke during the sentencing phase: “I spent 11 years in hell, where your hell is just beginning,” she said. “You deserve to spend life in prison.”

3. Weiner's still in the race

Anthony Weiner pauses while speaking with reporters in Staten Island on a visit to homes damaged by Hurricane Sandy on July 26, 2013.
Getty Images file
Anthony Weiner pauses while speaking with reporters in Staten Island on a visit to homes damaged by Hurricane Sandy on July 26, 2013.

Anthony Weiner dropped to fourth place in the Democratic primary for New York’s mayoral race this week, according to a Quinnipiac poll. The latest round of sexting revelations hasn’t discouraged the former congressman though; he’s vowed to “keep moving forward” with his campaign.

4. Marine's gesture goes viral 

Lance Corporal Myles Kerr helps 9-year-old Boden Fuchs across the finish line.
Facebook
Lance Corporal Myles Kerr helps 9-year-old Boden Fuchs across the finish line.

Lance Cpl. Myles Kerr melted more than 200,000 hearts this week when this picture of the Marine helping a 9-year-old boy cross a 5K finish line went viral on Facebook. The boy asked 19-year-old Kerr, “Sir, will you please run with me?” after getting separated from the group he was running with. The Marine dropped back to run with the boy (and made women across the country swoon).

5. Hugh Jackman is ripped

A ripped Hugh Jackman lifts (many) weights.
@RealHughJackman/Twitter
A ripped Hugh Jackman lifts (many) weights.

Wolverine, Jean Valjean, Van Helsing. It seems strong characters aren't a huge stretch for pumped-up actor Hugh Jackman, who posted this pic to Twitter earlier this week. 

6. Dying boy to serve as best man

Christine Swidorsky holds her terminally ill son, Logan.
Tribune-Review via TODAY
Christine Swidorsky holds her terminally ill son, Logan.

Sean Stevenson and Christine Swidorsky plan to have their terminally ill son, Logan, serve as best man at their wedding this weekend. The 2-year-old, who suffers from leukemia, inspired the Pennsylvania couple to move up their wedding date from next year.

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