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Pope Francis to visit Brazil


London, March 25 (IANS) Pope Francis, the Catholic Church’s first Latin American leader, will visit Brazil in July to attend a Catholic youth gathering in Rio de Janeiro.

The Pope will also pray at the Christ the Redeemer statue, BBC reported.

The Catholic youth festival is expected to attract hundreds of thousands of young pilgrims from around the world.

"I look forward joyfully to next July in Rio de Janeiro. I will see you in that great city in Brazil," the pontiff said in St Peter’s Square Sunday.

The gathering in Rio would be a "sign of faith for the whole world", he said.

Pope Emeritus Benedict attended the last such festival, in Madrid, in August 2011.

BBC said Pope Francis has reportedly decided to modify some traditional Vatican Holy Week observances.

He will visit a prison for young offenders in a Rome suburb where he will symbolically wash the feet of 12 young prisoners.

In previous years, the ceremony was performed by the pope in Rome’s Cathedral of Saint John Lateran, with priests symbolising the 12 apostles.

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