Aerial Photos Appear to Show Smaller Than Expected Crowd at Papal Mass in Ireland

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An aerial view of the crowd at Phoenix Park as Pope Francis attends the closing Mass at the World Meeting of Families, as part of his visit to Ireland, on August 26, 2018 in Dublin, Ireland. (Credit: Liam McBurney-Pool/Getty Images)

An aerial view of the crowd at Phoenix Park as Pope Francis attends the closing Mass at the World Meeting of Families, as part of his visit to Ireland, on August 26, 2018 in Dublin, Ireland. (Credit: Liam McBurney-Pool/Getty Images)

Half a million people were expected to attend the papal Mass in Dublin’s Phoenix Park on Sunday, but aerial photos of the ticketed event appear to show a much smaller turnout.

Irish media, including The Irish Times newspaper, reported that 130,000 pilgrims had turned out to see Pope Francis.

An organizer of the World Meeting of Families, the gathering of the Catholic Church that brought the pope to Ireland, told CNN that 300,000 people had been present for the Mass.

The reaction was very different from the reception at the last papal visit in 1979, when Pope John Paul II was greeted like a rock star in Phoenix Park by more than a million people.

On social media, some mentioned that more people turned out to see British pop star Ed Sheeran’s concert at the Phoenix Park in May.

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