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Pope Urges Brazilians to Reject Materialism, Focus on Poor

Pope Francis on Wednesday urged an audience of more than 200,000 Roman Catholic faithful in Brazil to shun materialism and instead focus "on the poor, those who are suffering and the outcasts of society."

The papal plea came in a homily delivered in Sao Paulo state, in the basilica of the Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida -- Brazil's patron saint.

His call for humility was similar to those Francis has repeatedly delivered since becoming pope earlier this year. On Wednesday, he also urged clergy, parents and educators to teach young people values "that can help them build a nation and a world which are more just, united and fraternal."

The pontiff was later returning to Rio de Janeiro to inaugurate a hospital wing for the treatment of drug addicts.

Francis' weeklong visit coincides with World Youth Day, an event held in Rio this year that brings together young Catholics from around the world.



Hundreds of thousands of youths have packed into the city waiting to greet the pope, and analysts have predicted as many as 1 million people will be on hand for the pontiff's welcoming ceremony Thursday on Copacabana beach.

The 76-year-old pontiff received a thunderous welcome Monday on arrival in Rio, cheered by thousands of people who lined the streets to view his passing motorcade. But the trip was marred by a major security lapse after his car took a wrong turn onto a busy street and was mobbed by well-wishers.

Analysts acknowledged serious security challenges, 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 visit to Brazil, and his return to his home continent of South America, is the former Argentine-born Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio's first foreign trip since his papal election in March.

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