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Spread the word, Pope tells young

Pope Benedict XVI has urged more than a million young people to become missionaries for the faith, giving them words of encouragement as he concluded the church's youth festival.

He told the crowd at a Madrid airfield hosting World Youth Day that they should not keep their faith private but participate fully in the life of their parishes and remain in communion with the church.

"So do not keep Christ to yourselves. Share with others the joy of your faith," he said.

Hours earlier, a fierce thunderstorm during a prayer vigil at the airfield had forced Benedict to cut short his remarks and slightly injured six people when a tent collapsed.

Some makeshift chapels set up on the field's perimeter were also damaged, forcing organisers to announce this morning over loudspeakers that not everyone would be able to receive Communion during the Mass.

Despite the discomfort, pilgrims who spent the night in sleeping bags, tents and under tarps seemed unfazed as they awoke to sunny skies.

Organizers announced they were opening a new area at the base to accommodate late arrivals.

"The night was amazing, I didn't sleep at all," said Adrinna Wista, a 21-year-old Polish pilgrim. "We stayed the night chatting, meeting new people and praying with them. Amazing."

Cristina Velasquez, a 29-year-old from Venezuela, said she spent the night with a group of Indian pilgrims after police, who had initially told her the airfield was full, let her in as the rain came down.

"Sleeping was difficult because the ground is quite stony. But waking up was indescribable, we are all so happy and united," she said. "The pope's words have made me proud to be making this sacrifice for his and Christ's sake."

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