Pope Benedict XVI received a reception worthy of a rock star as he arrived to give a final mass at the Catholic Church’s World Youth Day event in Spain.
More than a million young worshippers had gathered at an aerodrome outside Madrid and there were cheers and applause as his ‘pope-mobile’ drove in.
Bathed in sunshine today, pilgrims were drenched by torrential rain on Saturday night in a storm that forced the pontiff to cut short his open-air address.
Nonetheless, many camped out overnight to be sure of seeing him today. The Pope urged them to practice their faith within the church community and share it with others.
There have been angry protests over the cost of the event and papal views on homosexuality. A tent collapsed in the storm, slightly injuring seven people. A girl suffered a broken leg.
But for participants it has been a joyful occasion.
From the weather to the mood in Madrid, it has been a World Youth Day of extremes.