TODAY   |  July 28, 2013

Pope holds final open-air Mass in Brazil

Millions of people packed Brazil’s Copacabana beach Sunday, and more were expected, to attend the Pope’s final Mass of his trip to the country. NBC’s Anne Thompson reports.

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>>> on this sunday millions have gathered on the beach in rhee on de janeiro. anne thompson is in rio with more.

>> reporter: good morning, lester. it's an incredible scene at copacabana beach . millions coming for the pope's final mass and world youth day . the pope got a bird's eye view of the scene as he pulled over by chopper on his way to get in the popemobile and come here. some people have been here for 24 hours , sleeping out on the beach. they brought sleeping bags and tarps, many bringing the flags of their nation. there are some 170 countries that are represented here. in speaking to this crowd at last night's vigil, the pope called on the young people to become athletes of christ. he said to this soccer-mad nation, jesus offers them something more than the world cup . but the pope's strongest words were directed at the church itself and its leadership. meeting with the bishops, he criticized the church for being too cold and too distant and asked a very tough question, are we a church that can still warm people's hearts. pope francis has been treated like a rock star . he has accepted all kinds of gifts, kissed every baby he's seen. that's really been remarkable. because he's reached out to the people, they have reached back. this morning i think you could ask anybody on copacabana beach if pope francis can warm people's hearts. lester, the answer would be yes.

>> that's a stunning view behind you. anne thompson in rio. thank you.