World Pope cheered in rain-soaked Medellin ahead of Mass

19:46  09 september  2017
19:46  09 september  2017 Source:   Associated Press

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Pope Francis arrived in a rain - soaked Medellin on Saturday to console orphans, the poor and sick — and to rally priests and ordinary Colombians to look beyond rigid They cheered wildly and waved white handkerchiefs and Colombian flags as Francis zipped around the grounds in his popemobile.

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People cheers as they wait in the rain for Pope Francis to offer a giant outdoor Mass in Medellin, Colombia, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)© The Associated Press People cheers as they wait in the rain for Pope Francis to offer a giant outdoor Mass in Medellin, Colombia, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)

MEDELLIN, Colombia — Pope Francis arrived in a rain-soaked Medellin on Saturday to console orphans, the poor and sick — and to rally priests and ordinary Colombians to look beyond rigid church doctrine to care for those living on the margins of society.

Francis was tending to in-house church business on his penultimate day in Colombia, after having spent the first half of his trip encouraging its fragile new peace process.

Heavy rain forced Francis into a last-minute change of plans to reach Colombia's second-largest city. Instead of taking a helicopter from the international airport outside Medellin, he was forced to drive down the Andes, delaying the start of a Mass that was expected to draw as many as 1 million people.

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The rains though didn't seem to dampen the spirits of the faithful who came out to see him, dressed in colorful plastic ponchos to guard against the occasional drizzle.

They cheered wildly and waved white handkerchiefs and Colombian flags as Francis zipped around the grounds in his popemobile.

After the Mass, Francis was to visit a church-backed orphanage to meet with abandoned and sick children. Finally, he was meeting with local priests and seminarians before returning to Bogota for the night.

On Sunday, his final day in Colombia, Francis heads to Cartagena to honor St. Peter Claver, a 17th century Jesuit who ministered to the tens of thousands of African slaves who arrived in the port to be sold. He returns to Rome on Sunday night.

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