Millions expected at Pope Francis's prayer service in the Philippines

By REUTERS
January 18, 2015 02:50

 
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MANILA - Huge crowds converged on a Manila park on Sunday to see Pope Francis wrap up his Asian trip with an outdoor Mass expected to draw one of the largest crowds in Philippine history.

Organizers say as many as six million people may attend the afternoon service at Manila's Rizal Park, more than the some five million who flocked to a Mass by Pope John Paul 20 years ago in Asia's largest Catholic country.

Faithful began arriving at the sprawling park on Saturday night to get good places and police expect the crowd to flow over into surrounding areas.

About a dozen people were injured in a minor stampede when people rushed to get into the park, Johnny Yu of the Manila city disaster office said in a radio interview.

He said some people jumped over steel railings and some concrete barriers were breached.

Wilben Mayor, spokesman for the Philippine National Police, pleaded on radio for faithful not to block the papal route inside the park.

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