RIO DE JANEIRO (CNS) — Hundreds of thousands of cheering people welcomed Pope Francis to Brazil July 22 as he made the first international trip of his pontificate to his native region of Latin America.
Just days before the trip, Pope Francis made the decision to circulate through downtown Rio de Janeiro so, as Rio Archbishop Orani Tempesta said, the pope could be “close to the people.”
The papal plane touched down at Rio’s Galateo-Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport at 3:43 p.m. local time, and he emerged 18 minutes later to cheers from a relatively small group, which included a children’s choir.
After exchanging greetings with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and other dignitaries for 15 minutes, the pope entered a compact Brazilian-made Fiat Idea for the ride downtown, accompanied by security vehicles and helicopters overhead.
At some points, the motorcade was separated from ordinary rush-hour commuters by nothing more than a median strip. As the pope’s car drew closer to the center, he passed increasingly large groups of people standing, cheering and waving. About 20 minutes into the ride, clusters of people began pressing against the vehicle, reaching out to touch the pope, and had to be pushed away by the security detail. At one point the press of crowds brought the vehicle briefly to a standstill, and the pope emerged to kiss a baby.
Apparently attempting to avoid the crowds, the motorcade turned into a stretch of ordinary traffic. Shortly thereafter, the papal car found itself repeatedly stuck between vehicles and crowds. Security officers could be seen vigorously pushing back bystanders who reached out to touch the pope.
The 13.2-mile ride took 44 minutes.
The government has provided heightened security for the papal visit, with more than 28,000 police officers assigned to the week of events, which culminate in the celebrations of World Youth Day.
As the pope toured the city, Brazilian television reported that on the morning of July 21 police found a homemade bomb inside a bathroom at the sanctuary of Our Lady of Aparecida, which the pope was scheduled to visit July 24.
Help us keep you informed -- CatholicPhilly.com can't do it without youDuring CatholicPhilly.com's fall donation campaign, you have a way to help us deliver the kind of news you need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live. Every household's costs keep rising, and we're no different. We make sure your dollars in any amount go a long way toward continuing our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month. Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can -- a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Or by credit card here: