By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Marking his first major international trip since becoming pontiff on March 13th, Pope Francis will arrive in Rio de Janeiro on Monday, July 22nd for the 2013 World Youth Day (WYD), a six-day event organized by the Catholic Church expected to draw 2.5 million pilgrims to the city.

Pope Francis to Arrive in Rio, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
Pope Francis will arrive in Rio on Monday, July 22nd for World Youth Day, photo by Edgar Jiménez/Flickr Creative Commons License.

Before leaving Rome, during his Sunday Angelus message, Pope Francis addressed the groups gathered in St. Peter’s Square, asking the faithful to pray for him while in Brazil.

“I ask you to accompany me spiritually in prayer during my first apostolic journey that starts tomorrow. As you know, I will travel to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, until the 28th for World Youth Day.”

The Pope is scheduled to arrive at Rio de Janeiro’s Galeão/Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport, at approximately 4PM. There, he will be met by an official reception. Pope Francis will then attend the Papal Welcoming Ceremony held at the Palácio Guanabara, Rio state’s government headquarters.

Among the 650 guests for the ceremony are Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, Vice President Michel Temer and Rio de Janeiro Governor Sérgio Cabral.

O Globo reported on Saturday, July 20th that the Pope’s Welcoming Ceremony would cost the government R$850,000. This news comes after Brazil saw massive demonstrations over public spending on international events, among others, in June.

When asked for her thoughts about possible protests during WYD events, Rio resident and pilgrim, Aline Rodrigues told The Rio Times that she is not concerned about demonstrations. “I am not worried. It is an event driven by Christian faith, guided by the holy spirit. The greatest teachings that Jesus left us will be in practice, this love will live intensely,” she said.

Read more (in Portuguese).

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