Pilgrims from all backgrounds, driven by a single faith, participated in the opening Mass Tuesday for World Youth Day.
World Youth Day 2013
World Youth Day: The pope's pilgrimage to Aparecida today captures Francis' vision for the church.
Among the millions of people gathered in Rio for World Youth Day this week will be six young adults on a unique mission.
Delfin Bautista, Amelia Blanton, Lauren Carpenter, Ellen Euclide, Megan Graves and Sara Kelley are on a pilgrimage to Brazil to help counter the Roman Catholic church's often harmful rhetoric about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. DignityUSA and Call to Action, as part of the Equally Blessed coalition, are sponsoring the trip.
On the plane en route to Brazil on Monday, Pope Francis suggested World Youth Day should include outreach for the elderly, too, bringing together the energy of youth with the wisdom of old age. In a way, that's hard to miss once you start thinking about it; however, that's clearly already part of the program.
Q and A: Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia bluntly tackled three questions about Pope Francis, his early record, and his current trip to Brazil.
Q and A: Roughly 10 of the 65 current seminarians in Brooklyn found the roots of their calling at World Youth Day, according to Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio.
World Youth Day: It's a happy ending for the youth of Alaska, whose World Youth Day plans looked grim in June.
World Youth Day: The wild enthusiasm demonstrated on Francis' first day in Rio created headaches in addition to impressive scenes.
World Youth Day: Saying he wanted to "knock gently" at Brazil's door, Pope Francis began his Rio trip with: "I ask permission to come in and spend this week with you."
It wasn't exactly hard-hitting journalism today aboard the papal plane en route to Rio de Janeiro, though one has to give Francis credit for candor.
"I don't give interviews," he said plainly to the press corps.
"Why, I don't know, but I can't," he added. "It's a little difficult for me, but I'm grateful for your company."