(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis arrived in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Monday, beginning
a week-long Apostolic visit to mark the twenty-eighth World Youth Day. After a brief
formal greeting at Rio’s Galeão airport, the Holy Father proceeded to Guanabara Palace
for the official Welcoming Ceremony, where he was received by the President of Brazil,
Dilma Vana Rousseff Linhares, the Governor of Rio State, Sergio Cabral Filho, and
the Mayor of the city of Rio de Janeiro, Eduardo Paes.
In her formal remarks,
the President expressed joy and gratitude at the Holy Father’s visit. The Holy Father
returned those sentiments, and placed his visit in the context of World Youth Day.
The Holy Father went on to offer particular encouragement to the young participants,
to their families, and to those responsible for forming and empowering the new generation
to take up their responsibilities as the future leaders of humanity.
the exchange of speeches, the Pope and the President retired for a private meeting,
during which Francis presented Mrs. Rousseff with a mosaic realized by the Vatican
Mosaic Studio according to the centuries-old techniques used to apply the mosaics
in St. Peter’s Basilica, and depicting a panoramic view of Rio from just behind and
above the great Statue of Christ the Redeemer.
Please find the full text of
Pope Francis’ remarks, below:
President, Distinguished Authorities, Brethren and Friends!
In his loving
providence, God wished that the first international trip of my pontificate should
take me back to my beloved Latin America, specifically to Brazil, a country proud
of its links to the Apostolic See and of its deep sentiments of faith and friendship
that have always kept it united in a special way to the Successor of Peter. I am
grateful for this divine benevolence.
I have learned that, to gain access
to the Brazilian people, it is necessary to pass through its great heart; so let me
knock gently at this door. I ask permission to come in and spend this week with you.
I have neither silver nor gold, but I bring with me the most precious thing given
to me: Jesus Christ! I have come in his name, to feed the flame of fraternal love
that burns in every heart; and I wish my greeting to reach one and all: The peace
of Christ be with you!
I cordially greet the President and the distinguished
members of her government. I thank her for her warm welcome and for the words by
which she expressed the joy of all Brazilians at my presence in their country. I
also greet the state governor who is hosting us in the government palace, and the
mayor of Rio de Janeiro, as well as the members of the Diplomatic Corps accredited
to the government of Brazil, the other authorities present and all those who worked
hard to make my visit here a reality.
I would like to greet affectionately
my brother bishops, to whom falls the serious task of guiding God’s flock in this
vast country, as well as their beloved local churches. With this visit, I wish to
pursue the pastoral mission proper to the Bishop of Rome of confirming my brothers
in their faith in Christ, of encouraging them to give an account of the reasons for
the hope which comes from him, and of inspiring them to offer everyone the inexhaustible
riches of his love.
As you know, the principal reason for my visit to Brazil
goes beyond its borders. I have actually come for World Youth Day. I am here to
meet young people coming from all over the world, drawn to the open arms of Christ
the Redeemer. They want to find a refuge in his embrace, close to his heart, to listen
again to his clear and powerful appeal: “Go and make disciples of all nations”.
young people are from every continent, they speak many languages, they bring with
them different cultures, and yet they also find in Christ the answer to their highest
aspirations, held in common, and they can satisfy the hunger for a pure truth and
an authentic love which binds them together in spite of differences.
offers them space, knowing that there is no force more powerful than the one released
from the hearts of young people when they have been conquered by the experience of
friendship with him. Christ has confidence in young people and entrusts them with
the very future of his mission, “Go and make disciples”. Go beyond the confines of
what is humanly possible and create a world of brothers and sisters! And young people
have confidence in Christ: they are not afraid to risk for him the only life they
have, because they know they will not be disappointed.
As I begin my visit
to Brazil, I am well aware that, in addressing young people, I am also speaking to
their families, their local and national church communities, the societies they come
from, and the men and women upon whom this new generation largely depends.
it is common for parents to say, “Our children are the apple of our eyes”. How beautiful
is this expression of Brazilian wisdom, which applies to young people an image drawn
from our eyes, which are the window through which light enters into us, granting us
the miracle of sight! What would become of us if we didn’t look after our eyes?
How could we move forward? I hope that, during this week, each one of us will ask
ourselves this thought-provoking question.
Young people are the window through
which the future enters the world, thus presenting us with great challenges. Our
generation will show that it can realize the promise found in each young person when
we know how to give them space; how to create the material and spiritual conditions
for their full development; how to give them a solid basis on which to build their
lives; how to guarantee their safety and their education to be everything they can
be; how to pass on to them lasting values that make life worth living; how to give
them a transcendent horizon for their thirst for authentic happiness and their creativity
for the good; how to give them the legacy of a world worthy of human life; and how
to awaken in them their greatest potential as builders of their own destiny, sharing
responsibility for the future of everyone.
As I conclude, I ask everyone to
show consideration towards each other and, if possible, the sympathy needed to establish
friendly dialogue. The arms of the Pope now spread to embrace all of Brazil in its
human, cultural and religious complexity and richness. From the Amazon Basin to the
pampas, from the dry regions to the Pantanal, from the villages to the great cities,
no one is excluded from the Pope’s affection. In two days’ time, God willing, I will
remember all of you before Our Lady of Aparecida, invoking her maternal protection
on your homes and families. But for now I give all of you my blessing. Thank you
for your welcome!