News / Americas

Pope Resumes Public Outreach in Brazil

Pope Francis greets the crowd of faithful from his popemobile in downtown Rio de Janeiro, July 22, 2013.
Pope Francis greets the crowd of faithful from his popemobile in downtown Rio de Janeiro, July 22, 2013.
VOA News
Pope Francis resumes a hectic schedule in Brazil Wednesday, with a visit to a shrine in Sao Paulo state to venerate the Roman Catholic country's patron saint.
 
Nearly 2,000 police are set to provide security for the pontiff as he prays at the shrine of the Virgin of Aparecida along with about 200,000 faithful.
 
As the pope rested on Tuesday, there was widespread finger-pointing in Brazilian media over security lapses that exposed the 76-year-old Francis to mobs of wellwishers who greeted him Monday on his arrival in Rio de Janeiro.
 
Analysts acknowledged serious security lapses, but they said the wishes of the pope to be out among the public made it difficult to ensure full protection.  Throughout the ordeal, the pope himself appeared upbeat and kept his car window open to greet the crowds that swarmed his motorcade. 
 
The Rio visit and the return to Francis' home continent was planned to coincide with Thursday's international celebration of World Youth Day.  
 
More than one million young Catholics are expected to participate, and hundreds of thousands of young people are already in the city, awaiting the opportunity to greet the new pope.

  • 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.

In addition to his visit to the Sao Paulo shrine, the pontiff also will meet with young inmates at a Rio prison, visit shantytowns largely cleared of drug gangs earlier this year, and inaugurate a Rio hospital wing for the treatment of drug addicts.  
 
Francis' visit, his first foreign trip since becoming pope in March, comes at a time of social upheaval in Brazil that began last month with protests against a bus fare increase in Sao Paulo.  Those demonstrations quickly grew into massive street protests against government expenditures for hosting the 2014 Word Cup soccer tournament, and spread to include protests against official corruption.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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