Pope Francis had an enthusiastic welcome by the pilgrims and citizens in Rio de Janeiro with huge crowds of people willing to see the Holy Father. At one point the motorcade stopped stuck in traffic due to a wrong turn and people surrounded the Pope’s car in a chaotic way. But after some moments of tension, the motorcade found its way out of there and the Pope leaved the car and took an open vehicle to go through the streets of Rio to the Cathedral, an unexpected visit, to pray before the official welcome ceremony. All the way huge and enthusiastic crowds accompanied the Pope. During the welcome ceremony he said he was “gently” knocking the door of Brazil and the Brazilians. He added: “I have neither silver nor gold, but I bring with me the most precious thing given to me: Jesus Christ!”
As Sean-Patrick Lovett who heads the English Programme of Vatican Radio reports, after the Pope decided an unscheduled visit from the airport to the Cathedral to pray before heading to the Governor’s palace at Guanabara for the official ceremony of welcome with the authorities, “the motorcade mistakenly took the wrong route and ended up being blocked by congested traffic. People quickly swarmed around the car and moments of high tension followed as security agents tried to control the swelling masses that, at times, looked like they might engulf the vehicle completely.”
“Only after he transferred to an open jeep, did his drive through the city regain the tone of dignity and celebration that allowed Pope Francis himself to relax and greet the enthusiastic crowds with his characteristic warmth and spontaneity. By the time he reached the Cathedral, hundreds of thousands of people had poured out into the streets, determined to give him an authentic Latin American welcome.” he said.
Lovett said that Vatican Press Office Director Fr. Lombardi in a press conference down played the motorcade escapade, “adding that it was the Pope’s secretary who was upset while the Pope Francis appeared to be enjoying himself”.
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