UPDATE: Pope Francis back at Apostolic Nunciature after Quirino Grandstand mass; crowds now at 6 million

By Priam F. Nepomuceno & Christopher Lloyd T. Caliwan

MANILA, Jan. 18 (PNA) — Pope Francis is now safely inside the Apostolic Nunciature, Taft Avenue after conducting mass at the Quirino Grandstand, Manila – attended by six million devotees and well-wishers Sunday afternoon.

This can be broken down into four million at the Quirino Grandstand and another two million at the side streets leading to Rizal Park and the Apostolic Nunciature. This figure surpassed the number of devotees and well-wishers placed at five million during the 1995 visit of Pope John Paul II for the World’s Youth Day also held at the University of Sto.Tomas in Manila.

He arrived at his temporary home at 5: 44 p.m.

The Pontiff left the Quirino Grandstand area at 5: 13 p.m. but not without blessing and waving to the crowds who patiently waited for him – despite the rains and heavy winds.

Before finally leaving, Pope Francis, aboard his jeepney Popemobile, went around the crowd, blessing, shaking hands and smiling to the people with his very engaging smile, and kissing a baby.

He was doing this while the song “We Are All God’s Children” was being sung on the stage. (PNA)