For the world’s oldest continuous office, it was “the most fabulous crowd” Peter ever saw.

Five years ago next month – two decades after a record 5 million thronged the Quirino Grandstand in Manila’s Luneta Park for Mass with John Paul II – Cardinal Chito Tagle and Pope Francis combined to outdo their respective predecessors by at least seven figures, drawing some 6 to 7 million souls (in a driving rain) to yet another closing Eucharist of World Youth Day in global Catholicism’s third largest outpost.

To be sure, that figure wasn’t aided by the lowest US turnout in the global event’s 35-year history. Still, as the historic moment for a global Catholicism wrapped up, the call first used at the 1995 edition returned to the space, to be taken up with vigor by a new generation.

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