Brazil: Southern Snow and the Sanctifier

The World

Pope Francis greets faithful as he arrives at the shrine of the Madonna of Aparecida, whom Catholics venerate as the patroness of Brazil, in Aparecida do Norte, Sao Paulo State, July 24, 2013. Pope Francis landed early Wednesday at the shrine in southeastern Brazil, where he will celebrate his first mass outside Italy as pontiff and seek to energize faithful in the country that is home to the world's largest Roman Catholic population. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini (BRAZIL - Tags: RELIGION POLITICS) - RTX11X41


A blast of frigid Antarctic air has brought snow to much of Southern Brazil, in some places for the first time in almost 40 years. The region has been hamstrung by the unexpected precipitation, but many are relishing the unheard of winter wonderland. The snow coincides with the official visit by Pope Francis, and comes on the heels of mass demonstrations against the government. The Holy Father took to the favelas, the world-famous slums on the hills of Rio de Janeiro. He called for the wealthy to stop ignoring the downtrodden, and urged the youth of Brazil to stay motivated to change the world for the better. Crowds then followed him through the city, braving the cold and storms to gather for a million-strong mass given on the Copacabana, and hear his remarks in honor of World Youth Day. All this has made it a wild winter for the South American nation.
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