At World Youth Day in Brazil, Pope Will Visit Shrine, Slum and Youth

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Pope Francis will meet slum-dwellers and powerful politicians, pay homage at a Marian shrine and celebrate with participants at World Youth Day when he visits Brazil in late July.

The Argentine pope’s first international trip, which will take him to his native Latin America, was planned under his predecessor, retired Pope Benedict XVI.

Pope Francis will fly to Rio de Janeiro July 22 and spend his six-day visit in or around the city, except for half a day in Aparecida, an hour and 15 minutes to the west by helicopter, where he will pray in the Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida, Brazil’s principal patron saint.

In Rio, the pope will visit a hospital and a notorious “favela” slum; meet Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff, Latin American bishops and juvenile offenders; and address what the Vatican’s official itinerary describes as the “ruling class of Brazil.”

The largest part of Pope Francis’ time will be devoted to World Youth Day events, starting with a welcome ceremony on Rio’s Copacabana beach – where he will later lead the Stations of the Cross – and culminating in an outdoor Mass 30 miles away in Guaratiba.

The pope will leave Brazil on Sunday, July 28, at 6:30 p.m. when a farewell cermony will be held at Galeao-Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport.