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Summary of Pope Francis’ visit to Brazil for the World Youth Day

RIO DE JANEIRO (BDCi) — “Put faith, put hope, put love!” – This was one of the most precious and meaningful messages that Pope Francis declared last Thursday (25) at Rio de Janeiro’s famous Copacabana beach.

He attended a ceremony for World Youth Day – an international gathering of young Catholics – as rain continued to fall into the evening. However, the wet weather did not appear to dampen spirits, as Francis dropped into neighborhoods, communities, homes and blessed babies and sick people, besides celebrating a Mass for the faithful.

On Thursday,  the Pope arrived at 17:15 PM at the Fort Copacabana and greeted the people on the Popemobile. There was a ceremony  with an estimated audience of over 1.5 million people. In his speech, Francis appealed to young people to value spirituality and praised the pilgrims who survived the bad weather to attend the event. “I’ve always heard that the Cariocas (Rio residents) do not like the cold and rain, but you are showing that your faith is stronger than the cold and rain. Congratulations!” He said.

Pope Francis holding the Brazilian Flag

Earlier, the Pope also received a shirt of the Brazilian national sportsmen and blessed them in a private ceremony at City Hall, in a south area of Rio de Janeiro. He also received a shirt of the Brazilian Olympic Committee (COB) from the president of the organization, Carlos Arthur Nuzman. The Pope gave his blessing to athletes like the ex basketball player, Oscar Schmidt, who fight against brain cancer.

Weather causes changes

Argentinian people waiting the Pope at the Metropolitan Cathedral in Rio de Janeiro

In the afternoon, the organizers confirmed the vigil and closing Mass of World Youth Day would be transferred from Guaratiba, in western Rio, to Copacabana. The land of Guaratiba, where the stage was already mounted , was muddy from the rains that has been hitting the city since Tuesday.

The land in Guaratiba where events would be held, are covered in mud and the bars that demarcate areas of pilgrims are sagging. The were assembled about 40 lots with water infrastructure, sanitation, medical care, chapels and places of convenience, with food options.

Pontiff criticizes the pacification of the favelas

The B.O.P.E men posing with the Pontiff

On Thursday (25), the Pope Francis, attacked the strategy of pacification of the favelas undertaken by the Government of the State of Rio de Janeiro, warning that while social inequality remain without being resolved: “there is no lasting peace”, he said.  In the same day, in the community of Varginha, in the north of the state capital, he gave one of the speeches of social most important of his pontificate. He called the youth to continue pushing for improvements in a sign of their support for the protesters who took to the streets in Brazil since June.

The Pope also completed: “The greatness of a nation can only be measured by how it treats its poor,” an indirect reference to the insistence of the Government to sell Brazil as one of the largest economies in the world and at the same time, without giving a solution to the slums.

Francis came to recognize the social advances promoted by the government, but warned that it is still insufficient and that the pacification of the favelas, as he visits can not be done with weapons, referring to the Pacifying Police Units (Upas): “I want to encourage efforts that Brazilian society has done to integrate all parts of your body, including the most deprived and suffered through hunger and poverty,” he said. “No effort will be lasting peace, there will be harmony and happiness for a society that ignores, leaving the margin, which leaves the periphery part of herself.

Supporting the protests

Francis always smiling and greeting people

He also expressed his support to all those in Brazil who are fighting for social changes, in a reference to protests that took  the streets of the country since June. Attacking corruption and the fact that the periphery being abandoned by politicians, the Pope made ​​it clear that the Catholic Church will support the broader movement of demands for improvements.

“You have a special sensitivity in the face of injustice, but often are disappointed with the news about corruption and with people who, instead of seeking the common good, seeking their own benefit,” he said. Francis also called on the people not to leave “accustomed to evil, but to overcome it.” He also assured: “You are not alone, the Church is with you, the Pope is with you.”

Receiving the Key of the City and blessing Olimpic Flag

With Eduardo Paes, Rio de Janeiro’s Mayor, the Pope receives the Key of the City

On his fourth day in the city, the Pontiff attended a ceremony at City Hall in Rio, where he received the Key of the City and blessed the flags of the 2016 Games. In the afternoon, the Pope met thousands Argentineans pilgrims at the Metropolitan Cathedral.

Holding Argentina’s flag

Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady Aparecida on Wednesday, in Aparecida, state of Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Pope Francis at Basilica

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