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Priest hitches ride on popemobile during papal audience

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - An Argentine priest hitched a ride on Pope Francis' popemobile during the pontiff's general audience in St. Peter's Square on Wednesday after the pope recognized him in the crowd. The pope thought he had heard a familiar voice when someone shouted out "Holy Father, Happy New Year" as he was driven through a crowd of thousands.

Pope hails Brazil despite raucous welcome

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 landmark visit to Rio de Janeiro. The fervor that surrounded the pontiff's arrival Monday initially wrong-footed the organizers of the trip, which began with a raucous reception from throngs of cheering pilgrims. Despite heightened security for Latin America's first pope, legions of Roman Catholics were able to block his convoy and reach inside his car's open window.

Brazilians throng streets to greet pope

Tens of thousands of pilgrims packed Rio de Janeiro's streets to greet Pope Francis on Monday, joyfully swarming his car and chanting his name in a country recently rocked by social unrest. The 76-year-old Argentine, making his first trip abroad since becoming the first Latin American pontiff, was surrounded by throngs of cheering faithful as he was driven through the Brazilian city.

Brazilians throng streets to greet pope

Pilgrims packed the streets of Rio de Janeiro to greet Pope Francis on Monday, joyfully swarming his car and chanting his name in a country recently rocked by social unrest. The 76-year-old Argentine, making his first trip abroad since becoming the first Latin American pontiff, was surrounded by thousands of cheering faithful as he was driven through the Brazilian city. But the first day of his visit was marred by violence when riot police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse hundreds of people protesting the cost of his visit outside the state governor's palace.

Pope ditches bullet-proof car for Brazil trip

Pope Francis will ditch the bullet-proof "popemobile" used by his predecessors on his visit to Brazil this month and travel in an open-top jeep, the Vatican said Wednesday. Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi also dismissed concerns ahead of the July 22-28 trip about the demonstrations that have recently been rocking Brazil. "We are going to Brazil with confidence in the authorities' ability to manage the situation," he said at a briefing on the upcoming visit -- the pope's first foreign trip since being elected in March.

Massive security awaits pope on Brazil visit

Brazil is rolling out a massive security operation to protect Pope Francis during his visit next week to deter any repetition of last month's social unrest. More than 1.5 million pilgrims from around the world are expected to flock to Rio de Janeiro for the July 22-28 visit during World Youth Day (WYD), a major Roman Catholic youth fest. The Defense Ministry, which is coordinating security, is boosting from an initial 8,500 to 10,266 the number of army, air force and navy personnel to be deployed for the high-profile event.
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