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In the living and youthful heart of the Church

· The Holy Father departs for Brazil ·

Brazil is celebrating as it prepares to welcome Pope Francis. The first international visit of the Latin American Pope brings him to a land of strong contrasts but also enormous potential. The Pope, a pilgrim of hope, who – with his simple and spontaneous mannerisms – in just four months has been able to establish a relationship of closeness to the broad masses of the faithful, is awaited for with enthusiasm in the country with the largest number of Catholics and the highest number of bishops in the world. Surely the joyful displays in the streets, churches, hospitals, prisons, barracks, beaches and in other places involved the pilgrimage of the Cross and of the Icon of Mary in the Brazilian city, are meaningful testimonies

Inspired by the statue of Christ the Redeemer, which overlooks Rio de Janeiro's bay from Corcovado Mountain, Brazilians – in spite of  particularly intense difficulties during this period –    have opened their arms to the Holy Father and to the young people who have come from all continents. These are young men and women from different cultures, who speak different languages, are united by a love for Christ, for the Church, and for the Pope.

And while the Year of the Faith's WYD celebration is the main reason for Pope Francis' journey, there is also a pastoral aspect that is not secondary: his desire to meet and to dialogue. The Holy Father gis crossing the ocean to strengthen in faith the people of Latin America, which has been marked by significant social contradictions and the challenge of religious sects, that find fertile ground where poverty and illiteracy are widespread.

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St. Peter’s Square

July 17, 2018

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