Pope Francis Warmly Welcomed in Rio de Janeiro

Pope Francis has arrived in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to take part in World Youth Day. An estimated two million young people are expected to attend. This visit marks his first overseas journey.

As he left the Alitalia plane, he was welcomed by President Rousseff to cheers and applause from the waiting crowd. A choir sang and he was presented with a bouquet of flowers.

Pope Francis is now heading to the Guanabara Palace by open air popemobile amid huge welcoming crowds, for the official Welcoming Ceremony. There he'll be received by the President of Brazil, Dilma Vand Rousseff Linhares, the Governor of Rio State, Sergio Cabral Filho, and the Mayor of the city of Rio de Janeiro, Eduardo Paes. The Holy Father will then spend the night at the hillside residence of Sumaré, home to the Archbishop of Rio de Janerio, Orani Tempesta.

During his flight the Pope talked with journalists. He said: “this first trip of mine is to meet young people, (to see them) … not as isolated young people but immersed in their social context, in society. Because when we isolate young people, we do them an injustice: we take away their ‘belonging.’”

Young people, the Holy Father said, “belong to a family, to a country, to a culture and a faith.” They represent the future of a people “because they have the energy;” but Pope Francis added, “the future is also the elderly because they are the custodians of the ‘wisdom of life’, the history, the home and the family." A people has no future - he continued - if it goes ahead without the strength of its youth and the elderly.

The Pope reflected on the global economic crisis and the possibility that young people may find themselves out of work. "We have the risk of having a generation that did not have work" said the Pope. And from work he noted, one derives "the dignity of the person" - "from earning his bread."

“Young people today are in crisis and we are used to this disposable culture: it happens all too often to the elderly.” But young jobless people are also getting caught up in this disposable culture. What we need today he said, is a "culture of inclusion, a culture of encounter." And this invitation to reporters: "I ask you to help me”- concluded the Pope - and work for the good of the society of young people and the elderly."

Pope Francis has extended the itinerary originally planned for his predecessor Pope Benedict. During his visit he will be visiting a Marian shrine and a favela.

Source: VIS/BBC


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