Pope Francis to Visit Rio for World Youth Day

It has been confirmed that Pope Francis will be visiting Rio to attend World Youth Day in July. He announced this on Sunday at an address to mark the beginning of Holy Week.

The Pope spoke during his Palm Sunday homily in St.Peter’s Square, and stated  “I look forward joyfully to next July in Rio de Janeiro. I will see you in that great city in Brazil,”

On the trip the Pope will say Mass on Copacabana beach and visit the Christ Redeemer Statue in order to pray. This event is to be a “sign of faith for the whole world.”

Around four million people are expected to attend World Youth Day, which is the first of a string of mega events that are to be held in Rio within the next few years. This event is expected to test Rio’s capacity for hosting millions of visitors at one time.

Pope John Paul II began World Youth Day in 1985, and the only other time it was held in Latin America was in Buenos Aires in 1987 where 1 million people attended.

The Pope met with President Dilma Rousseff in the private library at the Apolistic Palace at the Vatican last week. This was the second meeting with a head of state for the Pope – President of Argentina Cristina Kirchner was the first meeting.

Before the meeting, President Rousseff told reporters “This is a Pope that speaks to the weakest, to the youth, to the elderly and to those who need help. I think he is a pontiff who has the capacity to be moved, that will dedicate himself to the poor and he has said that that is his main goal. It is a reason for us Brazilians and for all Latin America to be proud of, but above all it is good for the whole world.”