Pilgrims awake to sunny skies for final pope Mass

August 21, 2011 - 2:45 AM
Spain Pope

Police guard the entrance of the Cuatro Vientos airbase in Madrid Sunday Aug. 21, 2011 where Pope Benedict XVI will hold a mass. An estimated one million pilgrims slept overnight at the base and police were stopping more pilgrims entering Sunday. The Pontiff is in the Spanish capital of Madrid for a four-day visit on the occasion of the Catholic Church's World Youth Day.(AP Photo/Paul White)

MADRID (AP) — Sunny skies have greeted more than a million young people who spent the night in sleeping bags, tents and under tarps awaiting Pope Benedict XVI's final Mass at the end of the Catholic Church's youth festival in Spain.

Dawn broke with sunshine over Madrid's Cuatro Vientos airbase after a fierce thunderstorm Saturday night forced Benedict to cut short his speech to the crowd at a prayer vigil. Six people were injured slightly when a tent collapsed. Earlier in the day, hundreds were treated for heat-related problems.

The storm also damaged some makeshift chapels set up on the field's perimeter, forcing organizers to announce Sunday morning over loudspeakers that not everyone would be able to receive Communion during the Mass. A new area at the airbase was also opened to accommodate late arrivals.