More than 3 million people gathered at Rio's Copacabana beach on Sunday for the final Mass of Pope Francis' trip to Brazil. The first Latin American pope used the occasion to urge the faithful to come out of their isolation and evangelize the world.
"The experience of this encounter must not remain locked up in your life or in the small group of your parish, your movement, or your community," pope told the crowd spread along the 2.5 mile crescent of the beach at the final celebration of the World Youth Day on Sunday. "That would be like withholding oxygen from a flame that's burning," the 76-year-old Argentine pope said, according to Rome Reports.
Among the attendees were Brazilian President Dilma Roussef, Argentinian President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and Bolivian President Evo Morales. more >>
Pope Francis addressed hundreds of thousands of young pilgrims at the celebrations marking the World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro this week, saying if the church did not spread the faith in the streets it would be reduced to a non-governmental organization.
"I would like to tell you what my expectations are regarding this World Youth Day," Pope Francis said on a rain-soaked Copacabana Beach. "I would like us to make noise, I would like those inside the dioceses to go out into the open; I want the Church to be in the streets; I want us to defend ourselves against all that is worldliness, comfort, being closed and turned within – parishes, colleges and institutions must get out otherwise they risk becoming NGOs, and the Church is not a non-governmental organization," The Vatican Today quoted him as saying in his native Portuguese on Thursday.
Francis arrived in Brazil on Monday, ahead of World Youth Day events. more >>
Pope Francis arrived in Brazil on Monday, ahead of World Youth Day events where as many as 2.5 million people are expected to participate. The Roman Catholic Church's leader began his first trip abroad with an open-air drive through Rio Janeiro's historic center.
"It's so exciting to see the pope in our country," said Antonio Dantas, a 24-year-old seminary student from northeastern Brazil, as reported by Bloomberg. "I hope he brings a message of peace to all of us who make up the Catholic religion, but also people of other religions."
Pope Francis' visit takes the initial enthusiasm expressed by Latin Americans about having the first non-European pope in more than 1,200 years to the next level. He is visiting the world's most Catholic region. His visit occurs on the first World Youth Day to be held in Latin America since the first World Youth Day, which was held in Latin America 26 years ago, according to Vatican Radio. more >>
The Brazilian edition of Playboy magazine recently announced that a model who claims to be evangelical will be on the cover of its September issue.
Aline Franzoi, who belongs to National Mission Evangelical Church in Brazil, was already under fire for being a ring girl for Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) competitions, which some consider to be a violent sport. But now news of her upcoming Playboy cover adds additional oil to the heat she has received over her career choices.
Rio de Janeiro in Brazil is getting ready to host the Roman Catholic Church's World Youth Day, which begins on July 23 and is expected to attract 2.5 million people. Pope Francis has, meanwhile, promised indulgences to Twitter followers for that day.
"I joyfully look forward to next July in Rio de Janeiro! I will see you in that great city in Brazil! Prepare well, prepare spiritually above all – in your communities, so that our gathering in Rio may be a sign of faith for the whole world," the Vatican leader said in March of the upcoming trip.
The event will also mark Pope Francis' first international trip, as he is set to visit his home continent and participate in a number of events. The Vatican noted that the location for this year's celebrations was chosen by his predecessor Benedict XVI. more >>
Two million Christians from all over Brazil trekked the streets of Sao Paulo over the weekend to join in on the country's largest religious gathering, "March for Jesus." The annual event, organized by Pastor Estevam Hernandes of Renascer em Cristo, or Reborn in Christ Church, and other Pentecostal churches, included speeches and prayers from pastors, political figures, and entertainment from various Brazilian gospel artists.
"After so many years, the event continues to have an impact," Pastor Estevam Hernandes told Brazilian press outlets, adding that the success of the event was due to years of "work and prayer."
This year's theme was "New Time," which describes the nation's hope for change as it faces its worst social turmoil in over 20 years. During the past two weeks, millions of Brazilians have taken to the streets to demand the government find solutions to provides citizens with better quality of life. Protests that were initially started by students, sparked by a rise in bus fares, has now widened in scope to include professionals, the middle class, and residents of the favelas, or slums, all joining in to voice their dissatisfaction over larger social and political concerns. Primary concerns ranging from government corruption to the substandard state of public services, particularly health, education and lack of security within communities. In addition, the costs of hosting the 2014 World Cup and the Olympics are part of the myriad of key issues. more >>