Pope France on Saturday led tens of thousands of people inside a giant sports stadium in a Catholic mass that is the highlight of his two-day visit to the French Mediterranean city of Marseille.
“Bonjour Marseille, bonjour la France!” the pontiff said in French as he opened the mass at the Vélodrome stadium which was also attended by President Emmanuel Macron.
Francis entered the stadium aboard his popemobile after being driven at walking pace in the open top vehicle through the streets of the city to receive the greetings of residents waving Vatican and French flags, AFP correspondents said.
There was a festive atmosphere as the mass got under way, the stands of the 67,000 capacity venue almost full and people also standing on the pitch in a stadium more used to hosting football and rugby matches.
According to the local authorities there were 50,000 people in the stadium while 100,000 had lined the streets during the popemobile’s tour.