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Pope Francis greets millions of pilgrims in Brazil for World Youth Day
Thursday, July 25th, 2013

Pope Francis arrived in Brazil on Monday, where he is celebrating a week of World Youth Day events with an expected 2.5 million pilgrims of the Catholic Church from around the world.

More from GlobalPost: Pope Francis tells World Youth Day to shun 'ephemeral idols' (VIDEO)

The first non-European pope in more than 1,200 years made his visit to the world's most Catholic region in a time of strife for Brazil, where over a million people have taken to the streets across the country to protest government corruption and a lack of investment in healthcare, education and public transportation.

Since arriving in Brazil, Francis has expressed his concern over youth unemployment and has reinforced his commitment to young people, while telling them to shun "ephemeral idols."

"It is true that nowadays, to some extent, everyone, including our young people, feels attracted by the many idols which take the place of God and appear to offer hope: money, success, power, pleasure," the pontiff said.

"Often a growing sense of loneliness and emptiness in the hearts of many people leads them to seek satisfaction in these ephemeral idols."

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Pope Francis is surrounded by children during his visit to the São Jeromino Emiliani church at the Varginha favela in Rio de Janeiro, on July 25, 2013. The Varginha favela is a community of 1,000 people that for decades was under the sway of narco-traffickers until it came under police control less than a year ago. The first Latin American and Jesuit pontiff arrived in Brazil mainly for the huge five-day Catholic gathering of World Youth Day.

(YASUYOSHI CHIBA - AFP/Getty Images)
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Pope Francis speaks during a gathering with Argentine youths at the Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro, on July 25, 2013. Pope Francis urged young Brazilians not to despair in the battle against corruption Thursday as he addressed their country's political problems in the wake of massive protests. The first Latin American and Jesuit pontiff arrived in Brazil mainly for the huge five-day Catholic gathering World Youth Day.

(NELSON ALMEIDA - AFP/Getty Images)
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Pope Francis blesses the Olympic flag ahead of the Rio 2016 Summer Games, as the Archbishop of Rio de Janeiro Orani Joao Tempesta (2-L), Rio's Mayor Eduardo Paes (3-L), Rio's Governor Sergio Cabral (2-R) and the president of the Brazilian Olympic Committee, Carlos Arthur Nuzman (R) look on, at the City Palace in Rio de Janeiro where he will also receive the keys of the city, on July 25, 2013. The first Latin American and Jesuit pontiff arrived in Brazil mainly for the huge five-day Catholic gathering of World Youth Day.

(CHRISTOPHE SIMON - AFP/Getty Images)
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Pope Francis (R) embraces a drug addict during his visit to the St. Francis Hospital in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on July 24, 2013. Pope Francis warned Catholics on Wednesday against 'ephemeral idols' like money at his first public mass in his native Latin America as huge crowds lined the streets to cheer him. The first Latin American and Jesuit pontiff visited Aparecida to lead his first big mass since arriving in the country for a week-long visit of which highlight is the huge five-day Catholic gathering of World Youth Day.

(LUCA ZENNARO - AFP/Getty Images)
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Pope Francis offers a Holy Mass at the Basilica of Our Lady of Aparecida, Brazil's most revered Catholic shrine, in Aparecida, state of São Paulo, on July 24, 2013. Pope Francis warned Catholics on Wednesday against 'ephemeral idols' like money at his first public mass in his native Latin America as huge crowds lined the streets to cheer him. The first Latin American arrived in the country for a week-long visit of which highlight is the huge five-day Catholic gathering of World Youth Day.

(LUCA ZENNARO - AFP/Getty Images)
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Faithfuls attend a mass celebrated by Pope Francis at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida on July 24, 2013 in Aparecida, Brazil. Pope Francis warned Catholics on Wednesday against 'ephemeral idols' like money at his first public mass in his native Latin America as huge crowds lined the streets to cheer him. The first Latin American and Jesuit pontiff visited Aparecida to lead his first big mass since arriving in the country for a week-long visit of which highlight is the huge five-day Catholic gathering of World Youth Day.

(LUCA ZENNARO - AFP/Getty Images)
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Faithfuls gathering outside the Basilica of Our Lady of Aparecida, Brazil's most revered Catholic shrine, wait for Pope Francis to appear after he celebrated mass there, in Aparecida, São Paulo State, on July 24, 2013. Pope Francis warned Catholics on Wednesday against 'ephemeral idols' like money at his first public mass in his native Latin America as huge crowds lined the streets to cheer him. The first Latin American and Jesuit pontiff visited Aparecida to lead his first big mass since arriving in the country for a week-long visit of which highlight is the huge five-day Catholic gathering of World Youth Day.

(LUCA ZENNARO - AFP/Getty Images)
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Pope Francis waves at faithfuls from a car on his way to the St. Francis of Assisi Hospital in Rio de Janeiro's Tijuca neighbourhood, where he inaugurated a psychiatric ward, on July 24, 2013. Earlier, the first Latin American and Jesuit pontiff visited Aparecida, in São Paulo State, to lead his first big mass since arriving in the country for a week-long visit of which highlight is the huge five-day Catholic gathering of World Youth Day.

(ARI VERSIANI - AFP/Getty Images)
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Pope Francis waves at faithfuls from the popemobile upon his arrival at the Basilica of Our Lady of Aparecida, Brazil's most revered Catholic shrine, in Aparecida, São Paulo State, on July 24, 2013. The first Latin American and Jesuit pontiff is in Aparecida to lead his first big mass since arriving in the country for a week-long visit of which highlight is the huge five-day Catholic gathering of World Youth Day.

(CHRISTOPHE SIMON - AFP/Getty Images)
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Faithfuls cheer as Pope Francis arrives on the popemobile at the Basilica of Our Lady of Aparecida, Brazil's most revered Catholic shrine, in Aparecida, São Paulo State, on July 24, 2013. The first Latin American and Jesuit pontiff is in Aparecida to lead his first big mass since arriving in the country for a week-long visit of which highlight is the huge five-day Catholic gathering of World Youth Day.

(CHRISTOPHE SIMON - AFP/Getty Images)
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Catholic faithfuls attend the World Youth Day (WYD) opening mass, at Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on July 23, 2013. The highlight of the landmark visit of Pope Francis to the world's most populous mainly Catholic country will be WYD, a five-day event that kicks off today. Pope Francis's popularity on his Latin American home turf posed a challenge to Brazilian authorities Tuesday after adoring crowds mobbed his car on his arrival on Monday.

(LUCA ZENNARO - AFP/Getty Images)
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Young pilgrims attend Mass at opening ceremonies for World Youth Day while watching a live video broadcast of the ceremonies on Copacabana Beach on July 23, 2013 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Video screens have been set up along the beach to accomodate the throngs attending. More than 2.5 million pilgrims are expected to join Pope Francis for his visit to the Catholic Church's World Youth Day celebrations. Pope Francis delivered his welcome address to the celebrations on Copacabana Beach on July 25 as World Youth Day runs July 23-28.

(Mario Tama - Getty Images)
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Faithfuls gather at Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on July 23, 2013 waiting for the official opening of the World Youth Day (WYD) which will be celebrated with a holy mass. The highlight of the landmark visit of Pope Francis to the world's most populous mainly Catholic country will be World Youth Day, a five-day event that kicks off today. Pope Francis's popularity on his Latin American home turf posed a challenge to Brazilian authorities Tuesday after adoring crowds mobbed his car on his arrival on Monday.

(TASSO MARCELO - AFP/Getty Images)
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Pope Francis kisses a baby during his visit to the Varginha favela in Rio de Janeiro, on July 25, 2013. The Varginha favela is a community of 1,000 people which for decades was under the sway of narco-traffickers until it came under police control less than a year ago. The first Latin American and Jesuit pontiff arrived in Brazil mainly for the huge five-day Catholic gathering of World Youth Day.

(YASUYOSHI CHIBA - AFP/Getty Images)
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Pope Francis holds a scarf of Argentine football team San Lorenzo of which he is a fan, during his visit to the São Jeromino Emiliani church at the Varginha favela in Rio de Janeiro, on July 25, 2013. The Varginha favela is a community of 1,000 people which for decades was under the sway of narco-traffickers until it came under police control less than a year ago. The first Latin American and Jesuit pontiff arrived in Brazil mainly for the huge five-day Catholic gathering of World Youth Day.

(YASUYOSHI CHIBA - AFP/Getty Images)
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