Pope Francis on Sunday called on the 3 million young people who gathered in Rio de Janeiro for World Youth Day to go forth and work to overcome violence, selfishness, intolerance and hatred.

"Go, do not be afraid, and serve," the pope said in his homily.

The Mass was held on Rio's famous Copacabana beach, where young people from around the world gathered to pray and listen to the leader of the Roman Catholic Church.

"The Church needs you, your enthusiasm, your creativity and the joy that is so characteristic of you. Do not be afraid. Jesus never leaves you alone!" the pontiff said during the closing Mass of the weeklong event.

"It was wonderful to take part in World Youth Day, to live the faith together with young people from the four corners of the earth, but now you must go, now you must pass on this experience to others," Pope Francis said.

The pontiff said he hoped his message would especially catch on with the young people of Latin America.

"In particular, I would like Christ's command: 'Go' to resonate in you young people from the Church in Latin America, engaged in the continental mission promoted by the Bishops. Brazil, Latin America, the whole world needs Christ!" the pope said.

Pope Francis said the next World Youth Day would take place in Krakow, Poland, in 2016.

Young people from 190 countries took part in World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro.

The late Pope John Paul II, who served as archbishop of Krakow from 1962 to 1978, created World Youth Day in 1984.

The event has been held in Rome (1985); Buenos Aires (1987); Santiago de Compostela, Spain (1989); Czestochowa, Poland (1991); Denver, Colorado (1993); Manila (1995); Paris (1997); Rome (2000); and Toronto (2002).

Cologne, Germany, hosted the event in 2005, while Sydney, Australia, was the venue in 2008 and Madrid hosted World Youth Day in 2011. EFE