Pope ends historic Brazil tour

Pope Francis has left Brazil with Rio still pulsating with excitement after an historic beachfront Mass for more than 3 million people in which he challenged young people to build a new world based on tolerance and love.

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Pope brings message of hope to Rio slum during visit

Pope Francis received a rapturous welcome as he visited one of Rio de Janeiro's shantytowns, or favelas, to bring a message of hope.

Pope Francis greets a child in the Varginha slum during his visit in Rio de Janeiro. Credit: REUTERS/Pilar Olivares

Despite heavy security and rain, Pope Francis waded into the cheering crowds, hugging and kissing residents, before blessing the altar of the church that serves the Varginha community.

Nuns and soldiers arrive in the Varginha slum for the Pope's visit. Credit: REUTERS/Pilar Olivares

The Pope then prayed before a replica of Brazil's patron saint, the Virgin of Aparecida.

Pope Francis waves to residents as he leaves the Varginha slum in Rio de Janeiro. Credit: REUTERS/Pilar Olivares

His open-air car was mobbed on a few occasions as he headed into the neighbourhood and as he left.

Pope blesses Olympic flags ahead of Rio 2016

Pope Francis has blessed the Olympic and Paralympic flags in a ceremony at Rio de Janeiro's City Palace ahead of the 2016 Summer Games.

Pope Francis blesses the Olympic flag in Rio de Janerio's City Palace. Credit: REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

From the balcony of the building, he blessed the Olympic and Paralympic flags with holy water and imparted a blessing on those who gathered to watch.

Pope Francis blesses the Rio 2016 Paralympics flag. Credit: REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

Welcomed by the Mayor of Rio de Janeiro, Eduardo Paes, the Pope received the key to the City of Rio during the ceremony.

The Pope receives the symbolic key to the city from Rio de Janeiro's Mayor Eduardo Paes Credit: REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

He was also presented with a green Brazilian Olympic shirt with the words "Papa Francisco" by Brazilian Olympic Committee President Carlos Nuzman.


Crowds brave the rain to see Pope in Brazil

Pope Francis jokes with the crowd while standing on the balcony of the Basilica of the Madonna of Aparecida. Credit: Reuters

Despite the rain in Brazil the Catholic faithful once again turned out in droves for Pope Francis, who visited the town of Aparecida, to attend Mass at the Basilica which houses Brazil's patron saint, the dark-skinned Virgin of Aparecida.

Pope Francis smiles at a crowd at the Saint Francis Hospital. Credit: Reuters

Thousands jammed themselves inside the church, while tens of thousands more stood in the rain outside and happily cheered the pope.

The pontiff also visited what he called a "shrine of human suffering" - a hospital in Rio that treats substance abusers.

A woman at the confessional booths set up at Quinta da Boa Vista park at the World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro. Credit: Reuters

Pope slams legalisation of some drugs in Latin America

The Pope took a strong stance against the legalisation of drugs as a means to fight drug addiction and criticized the trend in Latin America to decriminalise narcotics.

Pope Francis embraces a patient at the Hospital Sao Francisco. Credit: Reuters

In his first public address on the issue, the new Pope Francis said education was the way to end drug use.

The pontiff was visiting a new treatment facility for alcoholics and drug addicts at the Sao Francisco Hospital in Rio de Janeiro as part of his week-long visit to Brazil centred on the Catholic Church's World Youth Day.

Pope leads mass at Brazilian shrine

Pope Francis greets faithful as he arrives at the shrine of the Madonna of Aparecida. Credit: Reuters

Pope Francis has arrived at a shrine in Brazil's Sao Paulo state to hold the first public Mass of his Latin America tour.

Crowds of people waited in the rain for hours to greet the Pope as he arrived in the small town. Credit: Reuters

Thousands packed into the Basilica of the Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida, whom Catholics venerate as the patroness of Brazil.

Pope Francis likes to jump in and out of his vehicle to greet the faithful, the Vatican says. Credit: Reuters

The pontiff, eager to appear more hands-on with the public than his predecessors, greeted a young member of the crowd with a kiss.


Pope enjoys day off in Rio

Pope enjoys day off in Rio

Pope Francis was taking a day off on Tuesday in Rio de Janeiro for rest and private meetings during his visit to Brazil.

The pontiff joined a private church service that was attended largely by Brazilian Catholic nuns and church officials.

Today the pontiff will fly over farmland and sugar cane fields to visit the mammoth basilica that holds the image of Brazil's patron saint, the dark-skinned Virgin of Aparecida.

Violent protests after Pope's arrival in Rio

Violent protests broke out in front of the Guanabara government palace in Rio de Janeiro less than an hour after Pope Francis left the venue following his official welcome ceremony.

Demonstrators run from police during clashes near Guanabara Palace where Pope Francis was meeting with President Dilma Rousseff. Credit: Reuters

Clashes broke out when hundreds of protesters began to hurl firebombs at riot police near the palace.Riot police responded by firing rubber bullets at protesters and pursuing them down the street.The protests are a continuation of the widespread anti-government unrest that began last month.

Riot police fire tear gas during a protest during the visit of Pope Francis. Credit: Reuters

The violence was brief and ended with two protesters arrested and four injured.

Pope's 'wrong turn' in Rio

The Pope's car was mobbed by the faithful after his motorcade took a wrong turn after arriving in Rio de Janeiro.

Rio Transportation Secretary Carlos Osorio said the car Pope Francis was riding in from the airport to the city centre inadvertently turned into the wrong side of a 12-lane thoroughfare, known as Avenida Presidente Vargas.

Crowds quickly surrounded the Pope's car after the motorcade took a wrong turn. Credit: Reuters

Instead of taking the left lanes that were free of traffic, the car turned into the right lanes cluttered with buses and taxis, forcing the pontiff's car to stop.

Thousands of faithful lining the streets then rushed to the car, reaching into the pope's open window, many taking photos of him with their phones.

Crowds quickly surrounded the Pope's car after the motorcade took a wrong turn. Credit: Reuters

The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said that although the pontiff's motorcade took a wrong turn the pope was never concerned for his safety, even if his secretary who was sitting with him in the car was.

"His secretary was afraid, but the pope was happy, with his hand out the window waving," Lombardi said.

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