News / Americas

Pope Urges Youth to Embrace Traditional Values in Brazil

Priests take part in a mass held by Pope Francis in the Basilica of the Madonna of Aparecida, in Aparecida do Norte, Sao Paulo State, July 24, 2013.
Priests take part in a mass held by Pope Francis in the Basilica of the Madonna of Aparecida, in Aparecida do Norte, Sao Paulo State, July 24, 2013.
Pope Francis, receiving another rapturous welcome in Brazil, on Wednesday urged young people to shun the “ephemeral idols” of money and pleasure, and cherish traditional values to help build a better world.

On the third day of his week-long visit for World Youth Day, a biennial Church gathering being celebrated in and around Rio de Janeiro, Pope Francis landed by helicopter in Aparecida, 260 kilometers [161 miles] west of the coastal metropolis.

The city houses a shrine of the Virgin Mary that is venerated as the patroness of Brazil, home to the biggest Roman Catholic population in the world. It also is the site where Francis, then a cardinal in Argentina, cemented his place as a leader of the Church during a 2007 conference attended by Pope Benedict XVI.

The ongoing World Youth Day events, which are expected to attract more than 1 million people from around the world, are an effort by the Vatican to galvanize young Catholics at a time when rival denominations, secularism and distaste over sexual and financial scandals continue to lead some faithful to abandon the Church.

Security around the pope on Wednesday appeared much more organized than upon his Monday arrival in Rio, where adoring crowds at one point surrounded his car.

In Aparecida, where tens of thousands gathered for the pope's first public mass of the visit, Francis rode in a white popemobile with open sides and a transparent top. Security squads kept the vehicle safely within barriers behind which tens of thousands of ecstatic faithful cheered, sang and waved flags.

The pope's desire to remain simple and close to his flock has complicated security around his visit, especially after he used a modest Fiat hatchback for his ride into Rio from the airport.

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said Vatican and Brazilian officials held what he called “a routine meeting” to discuss how the trip was going and made one change - that Francis would ride in a closed car from Rio airport to a hospital when he returns from Aparecida on Wednesday afternoon.

At the indoor Mass in Aparecida, one of Latin America's most popular pilgrimage sites, Francis urged worshippers to embody the faith of their ancestors and trust in God.

“Let us never lose hope! Let us never allow it to die in our hearts!” the pope said in Portuguese.

'Money, success, power, pleasure'

In his sermon, the 76-year-old pope warned the youth of his continent to avoid the snares of modern life.

“It is true that nowadays, to some extent, everyone, including our young people, feels attracted by the many idols which take the place of God and appear to offer hope: money, success, power, pleasure,” he said.

“Often a growing sense of loneliness and emptiness in the hearts of many people leads them to seek satisfaction in these ephemeral idols,” he said, speaking from a modern marble pulpit.

The pope's message of humility and rejection of the luxurious trappings of the papacy have endeared him to many Catholics and his first trip abroad has proved to be another boom to his image.

Young people, he said in his Aparecida homily, should be “a powerful engine for the Church and for society” and be given the conditions allowing them to “work actively in building a better world.”

At the end of the Mass, as worshippers chanted, “Francisco, Francisco, Francisco,” he walked around the basilica and comforted sick people in wheelchairs. He hugged several people, apparently old friends.

Return to Aparecida

He later joked with the crowd outside, asking their permission to speak Spanish instead of “Brazilian” and led the crowd, as he held the statue of the Virgin, in a prayer.

More than 5,000 police and other security officials were on hand in Aparecida, where young pilgrims, many draped in the flags of Brazil, Argentina, and other countries, endured rain and unseasonably low temperatures to ensure spots for the service.

Still, most had to follow the mass from outside the massive, modern basilica.

“I got here with my family at 2 in the morning,” said Antonio Carlos da Silva, a drenched prison guard from Sao Paulo. “I am so happy to come and see the pope.”

Aparecida is the place where Francis, then known as Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, authored an influential statement during Benedict's visit that espoused many of the same values he has placed front and center during his five months as pope. The document called on the Church to return to the principles of humility and charity.

From Aparecida, Francis is scheduled to fly back to Rio and tour a drug treatment ward at a hospital run by Franciscan monks. Later in the week, he will visit a Rio slum, preside over services on Copacabana beach and over the weekend give mass at a pasture outside the city.

Francis is scheduled to leave Brazil on Sunday.

On Monday, police said they safely detonated a small, homemade explosive they found in the bathroom of a parking garage in Aparecida. It was unclear if the device, made with a plastic pipe wrapped in tape, was related to the pope's visit.

  • Pope Francis arrives to a farewell ceremony at the Rio de Janeiro airport, July 28, 2013.
  • People pack Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro for Pope Francis' final mass for World Youth Day, July 28, 2013.
  • Clergy attend a Mass celebrated by Pope Francis on the Copacabana beachfront, in Rio de Janeiro, July 28, 2013.
  • A pilgrim wakes up after a night of vigil in Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, July 28, 2013.
  • Nuns and a priest take pictures as Pope Francis arrives at Sao Joaquim Palace in Rio de Janeiro, July 26, 2013. 
  • Thousands of young people gather at Rio de Janeiro's iconic Copacabana beachfront on July 25, 2013 for the welcoming of Pope Francis to World Youth Day ceremonies.
  • Pope Francis delivers a speech during a visit to the Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro, July 25, 2013.
  • People greet Pope Francis as he visits the Varginha slum in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 25, 2013.
  • A crowd waits for the Pope  to arrive at the Varginha slum in Rio de Janeiro, July 25, 2013.
  • A patient kisses the hand of Pope Francis at the Hospital Sao Francisco in Rio de Janeiro, July 24, 2013.
  • Thousands of young pilgrims gather on Copacabana Beach for a World Youth Day Mass in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 23, 2013.
  • Pope Francis greets the crowd of faithful from his popemobile in downtown Rio de Janeiro, July 22, 2013.
  • Youth from France, Venezuela and Canada who are in Brazil for World Youth Day events sing songs as they ride in a train that travels to Corcovado mountain where the statue Christ the Redeemer stands over Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 23, 2013.
  • Pope Francis kisses a baby while greeting the crowd of faithful from his popemobile in downtown Rio de Janeiro, July 22, 2013.
  • Pope Francis shakes hands with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff after receiving a painting of Rio de Janeiro during a welcoming ceremony in Rio de Janeiro, July 22, 2013.

You May Like

Germany Celebrates 25 Years of Unity

October 3 is a public holiday, marking the day in 1990 when East Germany and West Germany reunited More

Analysts: Russia's Syria Strikes Shake Regional Powers

If Moscow bolsters Assad, Saudi Arabia, other Gulf countries may feel obliged to step in More

Video Innovative Nano-Tech Water Filter Prevents Disease

It can absorb contaminants like copper, bacteria, viruses and pesticides, says Askwar Hilonga, who has been successfully trying out his product in Arusha More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs

More Americas News

Rescuers Hunt for Hundreds Missing in Guatemalan Landslide

Death toll from Thursday night disaster east of capital is at 33 but is expected to rise

Life Ring From Storm-Tossed Ship Spotted

Ring seen 120 miles northeast of Crooked Island, 70 miles northeast of El Faro's last known position before it lost contact amid fury of Hurricane Joaquin

At Least 9 Dead, Hundreds Missing in Guatemala Mudslide

Heavy rains swept torrent of boulders, mud over dozens of homes Thursday night in Santa Catarina Pinula, one of worst slides to hit poor country in recent memory

Argentina Celebrates Second Satellite Launch, Technology Milestone

Following country's technology milestone President Cristina Fernandez says she wants the nation to manufacture eight more over the next 20 years

Hurricane Joaquin Batters Bahama Region, Likely to Stay at Sea

Five US coastal states have declared emergencies and announced measures in preparation for storm, should it hit America’s shoreline

Hurricane Joaquin Strengthens to Category 4

Storm is causing heavy rains, minor flooding and significant storm surge as it approaches lightly populated central and eastern islands