Pope Francis arrived in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to preside at the World Youth Day [Jornada Mundial da Juventude] sponsored by the Catholic Church.
The event will be held from July 23 to July 28. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff welcomed the Pope on arrival from his flight from Rome.
More than 2 million people are expected to participate at the event followed by many more thousands around the world.
World Youth Day 2013 is the second to be held in South America. The first was held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in April 1987.
Brazil, the largest Portuguese-speaking country in the world, is also the largest Catholic country with an estimated 145 million Catholics, representing 75 % out of a total population of nearly 185 million.
Rio de Janeiro (6,3 million) is the capital city of the State of Rio de Janeiro, the second largest city of Brazil, the 6th largest in the Americas, and 26th in the world.
Currently there are 427 bishops and 18,087 priests in Brazil where the Church runs 366 hospitals, 1,013 clinics, 764 homes for the elderly or disabled, 1,942 orphanages and nurseries, 2,159 family counseling centers and other pro-life centers, and 2,830 centers for education and social rehabilitation.
World Youth Day (WYD) was initiated by Pope John Paul II in 1985. It is celebrated at the diocesan level annually, and at the international level every two to three years at different locations. The international level events attract hundreds of thousands of youth from almost every country on the planet. It is a major part of the upsurge in Catholic Youth Work in some countries over recent year.