The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

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July 23, 2013

Brazilian crowds delight pope, frustrate security

(Continued)

RIO DE JANEIRO —

The Vatican insisted they had no concern for the pope's safety as his vehicles eased through the masses, but Lombardi acknowledged that there might have been some "errors" that need correcting.

"This is something new, maybe also a lesson for the coming days," Lombardi said.

Many in the crowd looked stunned to see the pope, with some standing still and others sobbing loudly.

"I can't travel to Rome, but he came here to make my country better ... and to deepen our faith," Idaclea Rangel, a 73-year-old Catholic choked through her tears after the pope passed by.

As many as 1 million young people from around the world are expected in Rio for the Catholic youth fest, a seemingly tailor-made event for the Argentine-born pope, who has proven enormously popular in his four months on the job. But the fervor of the crowds that regularly greet Francis in St. Peter's Square was nothing compared with the raucous welcome in Rio.

Popes generally get a warm welcome in Latin America; even the more aloof Pope Benedict XVI received a hero's welcome when he visited Mexico and Cuba in 2012. John Paul II frequently received rock star treatment, and during one 1996 visit to Venezuela, his motorcade was similarly mobbed when he stopped to greet well-wishers after greeting prisoners.

Outside the Guanabara government palace where the pope was officially welcomed, Alicia Velazquez, a 55-year-old arts teacher from Buenos Aires, waited to catch a glimpse of the man she knew well when he was archbishop of her hometown.

"It was so amazing when he was selected, we just couldn't believe it. We cried and hugged one another," Velazquez said. "I personally want to see if he's still the same man as simple and humble whom we all knew. I have faith that he's remained the same."

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