pope francis

Pope commissions young people to be missionaries without borders

Pilgrims pack Copacabana beach for the World Youth Day closing Mass in Rio de Janeiro July 28. In attendance was an estimated 3 million people -- one of the largest crowds in the history of World Youth Day.

RIO DE JANEIRO -- Pope Francis commissioned some 3 million young
people to join forces and form what could be called Missionaries Without

"Where does Jesus send us?" he asked World Youth Day pilgrims July 28.
"There are no borders, no limits: He sends us to everyone."

On the white sand of Copacabana beach -- under partly sunny skies, a
relief after days of rain in Rio -- Pope Francis celebrated the closing
Mass for the July 23-28 celebration of World Youth Day Rio.

Although retired Pope Benedict XVI had chosen the theme for the

On stormy seashore, pope invites young people to follow Jesus

Rain falls as Pope Francis speaks during the World Youth Day welcome ceremony on Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro July 25.

RIO DE JANEIRO -- Even at its stormiest, the Sea of Galilee doesn't have waves like those pounding Copacabana beach, but Pope Francis asked young Catholics to imagine they were with Jesus on the seashore and he was asking them to follow him and share his love with others.

In his first remarks to the young people at the huge World Youth Day celebration on the beach July 25, Pope Francis spoke of belonging to the great family of faith and that included a moment of silent prayer for Sophie Moriniere, a French pilgrim who died July 17 in a car accident in French Guiana.

Argentines flock to Rio cathedral to see their cardinal-turned-pope

Argentine pilgrim Florencia Aldretes waits with others for Pope Francis to arrive at the Cathedral of San Sebastian in Rio de Janeiro July 25. The pope made a special appearance at the cathedral to talk with World Youth Day pilgrims from his homeland. Aldretes called having an Argentine pope the "best present that we could get here on earth."

RIO DE JANEIRO -- The streets surrounding the Metropolitan Cathedral of San Sebastian were filled with a sea of blue and white flags. The Argentines had come to town.

All without exception said they were there for one reason only. "To see Pope Francis," yelled Florencia Aldretes of the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires.

Aldretes and 49 of her friends knew that they were so far down the line that chances were almost zero of getting into the cathedral, where the pope had asked to speak to his fellow Argentines July 25.

At Rio hospital, pope offers drug addicts an embrace and a challenge

Pope Francis greets a young man as he meets with patients, family and staff at St. Francis of Assisi Hospital in Rio de Janeiro July 24. The pope addressed a group of recovering drug addicts offering them a message of compassion and hope as well as a cal l to self-determination.

RIO DE JANEIRO -- Pope Francis addressed a group of recovering drug addicts in a working-class neighborhood of Rio, offering them a message of compassion and hope as well as a call to self-determination.

At the Hospital of St. Francis of Assisi, which he called a "shrine of human suffering," he told patients they were the "flesh of Christ," like the leper embraced by the institution's patron saint in a crucial step toward his conversion. He also said those struggling with drug dependency deserve the "closeness, affection and love" of all society.

Pope returns to Marian shrine, entrusts WYD to Mary's care

Pope Francis greeted pilgrims as he arrived in a rainstorm at Brazil’s Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida July 24. During his visit, the pope entrusted World Youth Day to Mary’s maternal protection.

APARECIDA, Brazil -- Comfortable in the presence of Mary and at a shrine that symbolizes one of his most important experiences as a member of the Latin American bishops' council, Pope Francis kicked off five days of intense activity with an act of devotion.

Visiting the Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida July 24, the pope entrusted World Youth Day to Mary's maternal protection, but also challenged parents, priests and other adult Catholics to give the young people things that the world, with all its wealth, cannot: faith and values.

400,000 brave wind, rain for opening Mass at World Youth Day

Young people carried a cross during the World Youth Day opening ceremony on Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro July 23.

RIO DE JANEIRO -- The mosaic of hundreds of national flags waving in the cold wind on Copacabana beach was symbolic, as pilgrims from all backgrounds, driven by a single faith, participated in the opening Mass for World Youth Day.

"We come from different cultures, speak different languages, but we sing the same songs and have the same faith," said Nancy Issa of Ramallah, West Bank. Issa and 20 other Palestinians came to Brazil for the July 23-28 events.

Rio de Janeiro Archbishop Orani Joao Tempesta officially opened World Youth Day with the evening Mass.

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