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Pope celebrates last WYD mass
SYDNEY (UPI) -- Pope Benedict XVI addressed 500,000 people Sunday morning at the final mass of World Youth Day in Australia.
The pope urged young people to consider the religious life, The Sydney Telegraph reported.
"The world needs this renewal," he said. "In so many of our societies, side by side with material prosperity, a spiritual desert is spreading, an interior emptiness, an unnamed fear, a quiet sense of despair."
Pilgrims packed Randwick Racecourse and spread into Centennial Park beyond. Many in the crowd had camped at the racecourse overnight after walking across Sydney and attending an evening vigil led by Benedict Saturday.
The young people were in a joyous mood as they walked through the city and over the Harbor Bridge. Some chanted "Benedetto, Benedetto," using the pope's Italian name.
Benedict, after leading a large mass Thursday, spent much of Friday and Saturday in smaller meetings. He talked to leaders from other Christian churches and other religions, met with a group of teenagers dealing with problems like homelessness and drug abuse and apologized for clergy sex abuse, at a meeting at St. Mary's Cathedral that was mostly for members of religious orders and priests.