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image from RAI TV

The Alitalia Airbus A330 carrying the Pope departed punctually for Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where it is scheduled to land in Galeao Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport at 4.00 p.m. local time, 9.00 p.m. Italian time. The Argentine Pope’s first apostolic trip has begun, VIS reports.

Francis travelled carrying his hand luggage, and stood in line waiting to embark alongside the other passengers, accredited journalists and other prelates. The flight is expected to last twelve hours and the aeroplane will fly over Italy, Algeria, Mauritania and Senegal before arriving in the Brazilian city where multitudes of young people are already awaiting the Pope. Shortly before departing he tweeted:

“I am arriving in Brazil in a few hours and my heart is already full of joy because soon I will be with you to celebrate the 28th WYD”.

The message has been disseminated to over seven million users who follow the @Pontifex account.

Last Sunday Following the Angelus, Pope Francis, upon reading a banner with the words “Buon Viaggio!” (Have a good trip!), asked the faithful to accompany him spiritually through prayer on his trip to Brazil. He affirmed that this coming week will really be dedicated to youth, and that the young will be its true protagonists.

“All those who come to Rio want to hear Jesus’ voice, to listen to Jesus: ‘Lord, what should I do with my life? What path I should take?’” Francis asked the young people present in the square to “entrust these questions to the Lord and to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, much loved and venerated in Brazil: those questions that the young people will ask there and those that you will ask today. And may Our Lady help us in this new stage of our pilgrimage”.

Meanwhile, pilgrims from around the world were gathering in Rio for World Youth Day, arriving by bus from neighbouring nations or landing by plane from across the ocean to greet the first pope from Latin America.

More than one million people are expected to pack the white sands of Copacabana beach where the pope will greet throngs of young people on Thursday. But the biggest event will be the Holy Mass with them on Sunday from the so-called “Campus Fidei” in Guaratiba.

The program of the visit, full of activities all in Rio except a Holy Mass in the Basilica of the Shrine of Our Lady of the Conception in Aparecida. The program includes also a visit to the poor. The firsts visit will be to the St. Francis of Assisi of the Providence of God Hospital and to the Community of Varginha (Manguinhos).

After that he will go to the already mentioned welcoming Ceremony by the young people on the waterfront of Copacabana, he will lead a recital of the Angelus Domini from the central balcony of the Archbishopric of St. Joaquin and attend a Way of the Cross with the young people on the waterfront of Copacabana the 26th of July.

He will celebrate a Holy Mass with the Bishops of the 28th WYD and with Priests, Religious and Seminarians in the Cathedral of St Sebastian will take place the next day;  attend a meeting with the Brazil’s leaders gathered at the Municipal Theatre the same day; and a meeting with the Bishops of Brazil in the Archbishop’s House of Rio de Janeiro.

And then the biggest events with the young people: a Prayer Vigil with the young people at Campus Fidei at Guaratiba the 27th of July  followed by the Holy Mass for the 28th World Youth Day the 28th of July.

After these big events the Pope will have a meeting with the Coordinating Committee of CELAM at the Sumaré Study Center in Rio de Janeiro and will meet the Volunteers at the  Pavillon 5 of the Rio Center just before the farewell Ceremony at the Galeão/Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport to return to Rome the same 28th of July, Sunday.

He insisted to use an open jeep instead a bulletproof vehicle  during his visit to Brazil despite the security concerns. 

Join the conversation! 4 Comments

  1. Pope Francis is growing on me. I think he takes his mission more seriously than the luxuries and extravagances a pope was associated with. By the way, if you don’t mind me saying, you mention in your text Rio is Brazil’s capital, but it is Brasília, actually. Rio is certainly more famous, though.

  2. You’re right. Shame on me to make that terrible mistake. Thank you for telling me. About the Pope, each one has his own personality. I think the lasts popes took their mission very seriously too. I don’t associate them with luxuries and extravagances but with the teachings they left behind. This Pope is talking clearly, in a way everybody understand and is acting with a stunning and charming simplicity.

  3. Aw, it was just a detail. About the pope, what I meant is, for me, he is more true to what religion is about. He doesnt need a private jet and a special car, he is not afraid to step out of a car and talk to people. I think a religious leader should behave this way. The other ones took it seriously too, but I dare say their position were more important than their faith…

  4. Well, John Paul II was not afraid to step out of a car and shake hands and talk with people until he was shot and security said enough. And Benedict XVI gave up his position when he felt he was “too weak” to be pope. I think they were both men of faith. Francis is courageous, is living a very simply life, is very concerned with the poorest and very close to all. And I’m sure he is a man of big faith. It’s evident. I understand what you are saying.

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About Olga Brajnović

Journalist. In my fifties. I've worked for 26 years in a newspaper in Spain. I worked for two years as a stringer and correspondent in the US, and went as a special envoy to other places like the Balkans. Sea lover. Avid reader. Classic Music enthusiast.

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Ethics, Ideals, Our Life

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