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"The Pope attracts more people than football” in Brazil

Rio de Janeiro, 20 July 2013: "The Pope attracts more people than football" is the phrase that echoes through the streets of Rio among the hundreds of thousands of young people who are coming not only from Brazil but from all over the world attend these two million, report Vatican Radio’s Roberto Piermarini.

According to Cesar Costa, auxiliary bishop of Rio and vice president of the organizing committee, the involvement of local young people to prepare for the event, has also attracted many young people who are away from the Church. In recent decades, the Catholic Church has suffered a sharp decline. According to the last census: Catholics are more than 64% of the 190 million Brazilians, that is about 123 million. But in 1972 it was almost 92%. Many Catholics who leave the Church follow Protestant or evangelical churches. Besides, in the last half-century Brazil was invaded by thousands of sects of Pentecostal-charismatic groups, said the bishop.

In this reality, it is so significant that the Pope Francis wanted to go, as the first official leg of his pilgrimage to World Youth Day in Rio, to the Shrine of Aparecida, where in 2007 the Fifth General Conference of the Latin American Church was held. The Conference finalized an important document which asked the then Cardinal Bergoglio, to respond to the challenge of sects and secularization of the continent, emphasizing the centrality of the 'new evangelization', recalled Bishop Cesar Costa.

And Francis Pope comes to Rio to invite young people to become disciples-missionaries to proclaim Christ to all nations. Brazil has welcomed with faith the long pilgrimage of the WYD Cross and Icon of Mary, which have come to Rio on July 6 and after their passage. Thousands of Brazilian families have decided to open their homes to welcome young pilgrims coming from all continents. Even the Evangelical Church and the Protestants showed their generosity. On the eve of the Pope's arrival to Rio an important meeting is scheduled with about 200 young Catholics, Jews and Muslims who will propose concrete actions for interreligious dialogue.
Source: VR Sedoc


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