Pope Francis Calls Mary History’s Biggest ‘Influencer’

(Bloomberg) -- Pope Francis invited a crowd of young Catholics gathered in Panama City to follow the footsteps of the Virgin Mary, calling her the biggest “influencer” of all times.

“The young woman of Nazareth didn’t appear in the social networks of the time, she wasn’t an influencer, but without wanting it or seeking it, she became the woman that had the biggest influence in history,” Pope Francis said during a World Youth Day address in Panama City on Saturday.

Organizers estimated about 600,000 people attended a main event of the festival east of Panama City, according to the Associated Press. Many spent the night in tents or on sleeping mats ahead of an early morning final Mass to end the religious festival.

After riding through the cheering crowds in his popemobile, Francis said he understood their anxieties and fears for a future where jobs are scarce and education not always available, the AP reported.

The vigil ended a busy day that included a luncheon with 10 young pilgrims representing each of the continents. The young people said they were surprised at Francis’ informality and interest in their questions, according to the report.

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