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A Pope Francis-style journey

· The programme presented in the Holy See Press Office ·

A pilgrimage to Aparecida, taking part in the meeting of the Coordinating Committee of the General Conference of the Latin American Episcopate (celam); visits to the favela of Varginha and a hospital that treats people suffering from drug and alcohol addiction; to inmates of juvenile detention centres: these are the meetings that Pope Francis chose to add to Benedict XVI’s original schedule for wyd 2013, as announced on 17 July in the Holy See Press Office. Although he did not extend his stay in Brazil, he was intent on adding to the already full schedule.

The Pontiff showed particular interest in visiting Brazil’s National Marian Shrine: the place where, in May 2007, the Fifth General Conference of celam was celebrated in the presence of Benedict XVI. As we know, the fruit of that conference was the Aparecida Document, to which the then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio contributed in a fundamental way.

It is interesting to note that at the end of every meeting with a Latin American Head of State — Fr Lombardi said — Pope Francis gives him a copy of the document. The Pope feels a strong bond with the Black Madonna, found in the nets of fishermen. He will recite a prayer entrusting the intentions of wyd and his Pontificate to her.

Fr Lombardi informed journalists of some innovations in the logistics of the trip, for example, the Pope had chosen not to use an armoured popemobile for his meetings with crowds which are expected to be in the millions. Therefore, the white, open jeep he normally uses in St Peter’s Square, and a second green jeep will be his escort. In addition, the traditional in-flight interview with journalists did not take place. Instead, he chose to say a few words and greet the journalists one by one.

Otherwise the programme is the same as that published originally, with the usual wyd events: Copacabana welcoming youth from across the world, Thursday, the 25th; the Way of the Cross, Friday, the 26th; a Vigil with Eucharistic Adoration, Saturday, the 27th; and closing Mass, Sunday, the 28th, which will take place on the great esplanade of Guaratiba which can accommodate up to two million people, immediately renamed “Campus Fidei”.

H.E. Ms Dilma Rousseff, President of Brazil, has said she will be present at the various events, as she was at the Holy Father’s welcome ceremony.




St. Peter’s Square

March 22, 2018