SAO PAULO, Brazil — Pope Francis arrived in Rio de Janeiro Monday evening, greeted by Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and thousands of pilgrims who lined the city’s streets in anticipation of seeing the pontiff on his first international trip.
After exiting a plain, commercial airliner,Francis shook the hands of Rousseff and Rio’s Mayor Eduardo Paes, and continued to greet the procession of Brazilian officials on the tarmac.
He then entered a humble, silver hatchback Fiat, rolled the windows down, and circled the streets of Rio in order to shake hands with the thousands of Brazilian and foreign Catholics scattered across the city in anticipation of his arrival. Security struggled to keep well-wishers out of the pontiff’s car window, as they attempted to reach the global leader of the Catholic church.
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Francis is expected to head to Palacio Guanabara, which houses Rio’s state government, where he will partake in an official welcoming ceremony and speak for the first time as pope now that he is back in his native South America. He will later have a private meeting with Rousseff.
While enroute from the Vatican to Rio for World Youth Day celebrations, the pope told reporters onboard his plane that the global crisis risked creating a lost generation of jobless youth.
He said that youth unemployment in some countries has reached the double digits and there is a “risk of having a generation that hasn’t worked.”
“Young people at this moment are in crisis,” he noted.
During his stay in Brazil, the 76-year-old Argentine-born pope will visit a tiny chapel located in one of Rio’s many favelas and will celebrate Mass on Copacabana Beach with an expected 1 million people. Francis will also make a side trip to Our Lady of Aparecida, which celebrates Brazil’s patron saint.