Pope Francis in Brazil

A team of journalists from The Associated Press will be with Pope Francis as he travels to Rio de Janeiro for his first foreign trip as pontiff. The AP will have behind-the-scenes analysis, play-by-play coverage of the pope's public schedule, including masses and visits to smaller communities as well as commentary from our in-house experts.

  • AP Live Coverage

    (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
    by Caleb Jones on Jul 24, 2013 at 7:07 PM

    Pope Francis, who made history by becoming the first pontiff from Latin America, has returned to the warm embrace of his home continent.

    This week's visit to Brazil marks his first international trip since becoming pope. And The Associated Press is following his every step -- from the streets of a Rio de Janeiro slum to the white sands of the city’s famed Copacabana Beach where he will meet with millions. We have a team of more than a dozen journalists on site creating content across multiple formats.

    It’s a momentous visit for the pope that also presents great challenges: Brazil is the world’s most populous Roman Catholic country, yet the church is losing legions of adherents to Pentecostal churches and secularism. Francis, who has proven enormously popular in his four months on the job, aims to stir up passion among the faithful in Brazil and around the world.

    He’s received a frenzied welcome so far: When his driver a made wrong turn on a main avenue in Rio, Francis smiled as thousands of people rushed his car. He even rolled down his back-seat window and touched those who reached inside. The 76-year-old Argentine native has ditched the traditional bulletproof popemobile on this trip and carries his own luggage.

    Starting Thursday at 10 a.m. EDT, the AP will provide real-time coverage for 10 hours in words, photos, sounds, video, interactive and graphics of Francis’ visit that will put you at his side as he celebrates World Youth Day in a country that has seen a wave of protests against government corruption, inefficiency and spending for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics. We’ll also give you a look at what you may have missed, what’s to come and the impact of his visit.
  • Here's what you may have missed ...

    25 July 9:59 a.m. EDT

    After Pope Francis' frenzied arrival in Brazil -- when the car carrying him got stuck in a mob of well-wishers -- the pontiff made a dramatic visit to the shrine of Aparecida, one of the most important in Latin America, where he urged young people to turn to God instead of the "ephemeral idols" of money and power.

    He later met with drug addicts, encouraging them in recovery and making a rare political statement by denouncing proposals to legalize drugs in Brazil.

    --Rachel Zoll, AP Religion Writer

    A recovering drug addict kisses the hand of Pope Francis during a visit to the St. Francis of Assisi Hospital in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday. In his speech at the hospital, the pontiff called drug trafficking a "scourge," saying that it "favors violence and sows the seeds of suffering and death." (AP Photo/Lua Zennaro,Pool)
    by kmahabir on Jul 25, 2013 at 12:43 PM


  • ... and a glimpse of what's to come

    25 July 10:01 a.m. EDT

    Today Francis will visit one of Rio's desperately poor favelas, or slums, and will hold what promises to be an emotional meeting with several thousand fellow Argentines
    . Francis, an Argentine native elected
    less than five months ago, is the first pope from Latin America.

    Later today is the main event: Francis will address more than a million young Catholics gathered
    on Copacabana beach.

    --Rachel Zoll, AP Religion Writer

    A pilgrim walks along Copacabana beach under cloudy skies during World Youth Day events in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Wednesday. World Youth Day is a church event that brings together young Catholics from around the world roughly every three years. (AP Photo/Nicolas Tanner)
    by kmahabir on Jul 25, 2013 at 12:52 PM

  • Pope Francis' schedule

    by Kellen Henry on Jul 24, 2013 at 4:38 PM
    25 July 10:05 a.m. EDT

    Here's what's in store for Pope Francis today:

    Morning: Visit to the Community of Varginha in Rio de Janeiro

    12:30 p.
    Meeting with Argentine pilgrims at
    the cathedral.

    6 p.
    Welcoming ceremony at Copacabana beach in Rio.

  • Francis arrives in favela

    25 July 10:10 a.m. EDT

    Pope Francis has arrived in the Varginha slum in Rio. His open-air vehicle was momentarily swarmed by a crowd as it headed to the neighborhood.

  • `Cracolandia'

    The Varginha slum sits along a main road that's seen such rough violence in the past that it's known by locals as the Gaza Strip. (Victor R. Caivano)
    by Jaime Holguin on Jul 25, 2013 at 10:01 AM
    25 July 10:12 a.m. EDT

    Pope Francis has arrived in the impoverished Varginha slum -- it sits along a main road that's seen such rough violence in the past that it's known by locals as the Gaza Strip.  

    • The slum also butts up against what until about six months back was the largest "cracolandia" -- crackland -- in Brazil, where hundreds of crack cocaine users would gather under a train overpass and use the drug openly night and day. Crumbling brittle shacks give the area a bombed-out feel.
    • Varginha is one of the smallest of Rio's more than 1,000 slums. It's a triangle-shaped chunk of flat, dusty land sitting between two putrid waterways full of raw sewage. On the third side runs a busy main road with an elevated commuter train that noisily rolls by overhead.

  • Greeting the pope

    by Kellen Henry on Jul 24, 2013 at 4:38 PM

    25 July 10:14 a.m. EDT

    Pope Francis was greeted at the entry to the Varginha slum with a paper lei of yellow and green paper flowers.
     He walked about 15 feet down a street and greeted a crowd of ecstatic schoolchildren who shrieked with delight and clutched to his white robe.

    Pope Francis is walking about 200 yards down a main street in the Vardinha slum. The faithful are greeting him, kissing his hand. He's surrounded by his security guards but they are letting a few faithful in to meet the pope.

    -- Jenny Barchfield, AP reporter based in Rio de Janeiro

  • Cut trees

    25 July 10:16 a.m. EDT

    Residents of Rio's Varginha slum say trees were trimmed and sidewalks were repaired ahead of the pope's visit. 
    -- Jenny Barchfield, AP reporter based in Rio
    de Janeiro
    by jbarchfield on Jul 25, 2013 at 10:09 AM via email

  • Pope greets followers at Varginha slum

    25 July 10:18 a.m. EDT

    The pope takes a T-shirt from a young man and kisses a baby as he walks through the Varginha slum in the southern part of Rio. 

    by nsen on Jul 25, 2013 at 10:16 AM

  • Gifts from the faithful

    25 July 10:22 a.m. EDT

    The pope is receiving several gifts from slum residents as he makes his way to the soccer field where he'll give a speech: T-shirts, knicknacks and a scarf of his favorite Argentine soccer team San Lorenzo.

    -- Jenny Barchfield
    , AP reporter based in Rio de Janeiro

  • Modest security

    25 July 10:26 a.m. EDT

    After visiting the chapel in the Varginha slum, Pope Francis walked through the streets between barricades but repeatedly moved to the side and came into close contact with the faithful.
    Only a modest security detail is protecting him.

    The crowd erupted in pandemonium when the pope approached the barricades to kiss a baby or touch a child's head. Many broke into tears when the pope approached or touched them.

    Jack Chang,
     Editor, Latin America Desk in Mexico City

  • Fearless Francis

    25 July 10:28 a.m. EDT

    "Fearless Francis," as some have called the pontiff, is making good on his name.

    He looks 100 percent comfortable walking through the Varginha slum as multitudes of faithful press up against metal barricades lining his path. We'll have the video shortly.

    -- Jenny Barchfield, AP reporter based in Rio de Janeiro
  • Kissing babies

    25 July 10:31 a.m. EDT

    Francis is continuing his baby-kissing ways.
    He must have kissed 30 babies in the last 20 minutes.

    -- Jenny Barchfield, AP reporter based in Rio de Janeiro

  • A swarm welcome to Brazil

    25 July 10:37 a.m. EDT

    Getting swarmed by a crowd is just another day at the office for Pope Francis.
    Just like today, when his vehicle was surrounded by a crowd in a Rio slum, the pope encountered more than a few energetic Brazilians up close when he first arrived in the country on Monday.

     In an image from video, a crowd mobs the Fiat carrying Pope Francis on Monday. (AP Photo)
    by Eric Carvin on Jul 25, 2013 at 2:35 PM
    As AP reporters Nicole Winfield and Bradley Brooks reported:

    A wrong turn sent a humble Fiat carrying Pope Francis into the thick of a frenzied Rio crowd Monday, in his first minutes back in South America since becoming pontiff. It was a nightmare for security officials, but for the clearly delighted pope just another opportunity to connect.

    Francis, it seems, couldn't have been happier -- he rolled down his window to say hi to the gathering crowd, and even managed to kiss a baby who was handed to him.

  • Francis at ease

    25 July 10:38 a.m. EDT

    We told you earlier about how comfortable Francis looked walking through the slum.

    Here's the video

    by nsen on Jul 25, 2013 at 10:27 AM

  • Francis takes the stage

    25 July 10:40 a.m. EDT

    Francis has taken to a stage set up inside a community soccer field in the slum.
    The adoring crowd is about 20 feet below him.

    -- Jenny Barchfield, AP reporter based in Rio de Janeiro
  • Meanwhile, at Copacabana...

    25 July 10:49 a.m. EDT

    People are lining up at Copacabana beach in anticipation of the pope's visit.
    -- Renata Brito, video journalist based in Rio de Janeiro

    by Renata Brito on Jul 25, 2013 at 10:32 AM via email

  • When the pope rolled in

    25 July 10:50 a.m. EDT

    The scene earlier this morning when the pope arrived at the Varginha favela:

    (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
    by emarti on Jul 25, 2013 at 10:44 AM

  • Standing in the rain to hear the pope

    25 July 10:57 a.m. EDT

    by nsen on Jul 25, 2013 at 10:48 AM

  • But not a shot of cachaca!

    25 July 10:59 a.m. EDT

    From the start, my wish in planning this visit to Brazil was to be able to visit every district throughout the nation.
    I would have liked to knock on every door, to say “good morning”, to ask for a glass of cold water, to take a cafezinho ... but not a shot of cachaca!

    The pope is now speaking to residents of the Varginha slum. Cachaca, by the way, is the potent Brazilian sugar cane liquor.

    Expect video of his speech shortly.

  • Pope and the poor

    25 July 11:05 a.m. EDT

    Events like this, with the pope and all the local media, get everyone so excited... I think this visit is going to bring people back to the Catholic church.  

    --  Varginha slum resident Antonieta de Souza Costa, a 56-year-old vendor

    Costa says it’s high time the media pays attention to Catholicism in poor areas. 

    In the last two decades, the Roman Catholic Church has lost legions of faithful -- most of them being poorer Brazilians who have switched to Pentecostal evangelical churches that have a huge presence in Varginha and most slums like it. 

    -- Jenny Barchfield, AP reporter based in Rio de Janeiro

  • `And He will give them showers of rain ...'

    25 July 11:07 a.m. EDT

    Rio de Janeiro's weather forecast: 

    There's a 90 percent chance of rain today, 60 percent tonight. It's partly cloudy tomorrow, then clear for the rest of Pope Francis' visit.

    -- Jack Chang, AP editor based in Mexico City

  • The pope's fluency in 'Portu-nol'

    25 July 11:15 a.m. EDT

    Pope Francis is doing his best with Portuguese, and the crowd appreciates his effort.
    But the distinctive accent he shares with fellow Argentines in Buenos Aires keeps coming through.
    His countrymen call it "Portu-nol" -- as in Portuguese plus Espanol.

    Mike Warren, AP's bureau chief in Buenos Aires

  • Waiting under umbrellas

    25 July 11:16 a.m. EDT

    People already waiting for Pope Francis at the Copacabana beachfront.
    -- Jorge Saenz, AP photographer

    by emarti on Jul 25, 2013 at 10:54 AM

  • A shoutout to the youth

    25 July 11:19 a.m. EDT

    The pope calls out to the youth as he addresses the crowd in Varginha, saying "the youth, you all":

    by nsen on Jul 25, 2013 at 11:07 AM

  • Francis addresses inequalities

    25 July 11:22 a.m. EDT

    by nsen on Jul 25, 2013 at 10:53 AM

    In his speech, the pope addressed the inequalities that persist in the world.

    "Everybody, according to his or her particular opportunities and responsibilities, should be able to make a personal contribution to putting an end to so many social injustices," he said.

  • Thank you, Varginha

    25 July 11:26 a.m. EDT

    At the end of his speech, Francis thanks the people of Varginha, saying he is the pope of "you all." 

    by nsen on Jul 25, 2013 at 11:17 AM

  • And he's on the move ...

    25 July 1
    1:30 a.m. EDT

    The pope is now heading toward Rio de Janeiro's cathedral where he'll meet with a few thousand young Catholic pilgrims from his native Argentina, says 
    Jenny Barchfield, AP reporter based in Rio de Janeiro.

    Here's an excerpt of Pope Francis' speech in Varghina this morning, focusing on the youth of Brazil:

    Here, as in the whole of Brazil, there are many young people. Dear young friends, you have a particular sensitivity towards injustice, but you are often disappointed by facts that speak of corruption on the part of people who put their own interests before the common good. To you and to all, I repeat: never yield to discouragement, do not lose trust, do not allow your hope to be extinguished. Situations can change, people can change. Be the first to seek to bring good, do not grow accustomed to evil, but defeat it.

  • How he rolls

    Pope Francis waves to faithful upon his arrival at the Pontiff's residence of Castel Gandolfo, near Rome, Sunday July 14, 2013.  (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia) 
    by Kellen Henry on Jul 23, 2013 at 8:26 PM
    25 July 11:33 a.m. EDT

    Pope Francis is particular about his ride.

    He wants to be sure the cars used to drive him fit his theme of simplicity. 

    The pope recently went to the Vatican garage where the city state's fleet of cars is housed to see if they met his more humble criteria. 

    His car of choice? A Ford Focus. 

    -- Rachel Zoll, AP Religion Writer

  • From Twitter

    25 July 11:35 a.m. EDT

  • Better than a concert T-shirt

    25 July 11:37 a.m. EDT

    Little girls in Varginha after waving goodbye to the pope. 
    -- Jenny Barchfield, AP reporter based in Rio de Janeiro
    by jbarchfield on Jul 25, 2013 at 11:34 AM via email

  • Copacabana: Only several hours to go

    25 July 11:40 a.m. EDT

    "Six hours until the pope greets young people in Copacabana.
    But many are in anticipation." So says a recent tweet -- complete with a rainy photo -- from AP reporter Vivian Sequera.

  • $52 million

    by Kellen Henry on Jul 22, 2013 at 5:09 PM
    25 July 11:44 a.m. EDT

    That's about how much the Brazilian government spent on Francis' visit.
  • Change of venue?

    25 July 11:49 a.m. EDT

    A sea of umbrellas await Pope Francis. 
    -- Renata Brito, AP video journalist based in Rio de Janeiro

    by Renata Brito on Jul 25, 2013 at 11:39 AM via email

    Brazilian media report that Sunday's big Mass in the outlying neighborhood of Guaratiba may be moved to Copacabana because incessant rains have turned the site into a giant mud field.

    If that happens, there will be three major events on Copacabana beach, including today's welcome of Catholic youth and tomorrow's Stations of the Cross walk.  

    -- Jack Chang, Editor, Latin America Desk in Mexico City

  • Up all night

    by Kellen Henry on Jul 24, 2013 at 4:38 PM
    25 July 11:51 a.m. EDT

    The thousands of Argentines packing Rio's main cathedral just erupted in applause as the president of Argentina's bishops' conference told the pope that these young people had waited all night in the rain for this moment to see him.

    -- Mike Warren, AP's bureau chief in Buenos Aires

  • Quotable

    25 July 11:53 a.m. EDT

    Pope Francis tells the thousands of Argentines in Rio's main cathedral:

    What is it I want? I want you to go outside, to bring the church to the street! If you don't go out, the church becomes an NGO. And I do NOT want the church to be an NGO!

  • 30,000 Argentines

    by Kellen Henry on Jul 22, 2013 at 5:09 PM
    25 July 11:58 a.m. EDT

    More than 30,000 Argentine
    make up the largest foreign contingent attending the World Youth Day events. 

  • Most Catholics in the world

    25 July 12:01 p.m. EDT

    Brazil is home to 150 million Roman Catholics, more than in any other country. But the proportion of Catholics within the country is declining. More details in this AP interactive: apne.ws

    by ccarlson on Jul 25, 2013 at 3:48 PM

  • Don't mix your beliefs

    by Kellen Henry on Jul 24, 2013 at 4:38 PM
    25 July 12:02 p.m. EDT

    The pope's manner of speaking to the Argentines inside Rio's main cathedral is clear and direct, and brimming with good humor, like any close friend or uncle would talk when sharing advice to a loved one.

    Example: "Don't blend your faith," he says - ".
    ..there are smoothies made of oranges, strawberry smoothies, banana smoothies, but please! Don't mix your beliefs!"

    -- Mike Warren, AP's bureau chief in Buenos Aires

  • The Virgin of Lujan

    by Kellen Henry on Jul 22, 2013 at 5:09 PM
    25 July 12:06 p.m. EDT

    Pope Francis drew a sign of the cross and touched a symbol of Marian devotion that is closer to the heart of all Catholic Argentines --  the Virgin of Lujan. 

    Dressed in robes of Argentine white and blue, the statue was carried to Brazil by the Argentine delegation to be blessed by their pope.

    -- Mike Warren
    , AP's bureau chief in Buenos Aires

  • Caged in

    25 July 12:09 p.m. EDT

    The pope tells Argentines gathered in Rio's main cathedral that he's sorry he can't be closer to them, 
    referring to metal barriers separating him from the faithful.

    "I wish you weren't caged like that, but it was necessary -- it's an organizational thing," he said. "Sometimes, I also also feel caged in."

    Francis, a pontiff with the common touch who loves crowds, was at his most animated, speaking in his native Spanish before the massive group.

    --Luis Andres HenaoAP reporter in Santiago, Chile and Bradley Brooks, AP bureau chief based in Rio de Janeiro

  • Get to know Brazil

    25 July 12:11 p.m. EDT

    You've probably heard about the world-class soccer players and beaches, but what else do you know about Brazil? Let us fill in some of the blanks.

    by nsen on Jul 25, 2013 at 9:31 AM

  • People can change, says Francis

    25 July 12:21 p.m. EDT

    "You are often disappointed by facts that speak of corruption on the part of people who put their own interests before the common good. To you and all, I repeat: Never yield to discouragement, do not lose trust, do not allow your hope to be extinguished. Situations can change, people can change."

    Read the whole AP story here: http://apne.ws/17FTKAb

  • Preaching on poverty

    25 July 12:25 p.m. EDT

    by Kellen Henry on Jul 23, 2013 at 4:35 PM
    Pope Francis has made ending poverty a focus of his young pontificate, a message that will resonate in Latin America. The pope has arrived amid anti-government protests, over working conditions, public transportation and other issues. Analysts will watch to see how Francis addresses the protests and how Brazilians receive his words. 

    -- Rachel Zoll, AP Religion Writer

  • John Paul II was first pope to visit favela

    25 July 12:31 p.m. EDT

    Pope John Paul II visited a favela in Salvador, Brazil, in 1980. Residents were overjoyed to see him. 

    by nsen on Jul 24, 2013 at 5:43 PM

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