UK
22/07/2013 10:02 BST | Updated 23/07/2013 16:10 BST

Pope Francis Visits Brazil For World Youth Day, But Leaves Popemobile Behind

Millions of people in Brazil are expected to greet Pope Francis at his first overseas trip as pontiff - but those hoping to catch a glimpse of the 'Popemobile' will be disappointed.

According to a Vatican spokesman, the Pope, the first from Latin America, did not want a bubble-topped, armour-plated popemobile for his meetings with the crowds.

Instead he will use the white, open jeep he normally uses in St Peter's Square, and a green jeep will escort him, along with around 22,000 security staff.

pope francis

Pope Francis departs for his first international trip from Leonardo Da Vinci airport

The BBC reported that the insistance of the Pope of walking among his followers and his insistence on shunning special treatments when it comes to Papal visits, has caused somewhat of a security headache for the 22,000 protection officers, police and soldiers charged with monitoring his visit.

The Pope's visit comes at a turbulent time for the country, with fears that more civil unrest could be sparked during the visit.

Last month, thousands protested against the cuts, health and education services, many wearing Guy Fawkes masks, marching during the football Confederations Cup.

The Brazilian authorities have banned masks at Pope Francis's opening Mass at the World Youth Day, but have been unable to quell vocal opposition to the estimated £90m cost of the visit.

The newspaper O Globo reported that organisers of the visit had asked Brazil’s Government to cover a £8.5 million shortfall in funding, which they had refused to do, having already stumped up about £40 million.

Around two million are expected to attend World Youth Day, with a vigil on Saturday and a conclusive Mass on Sunday, both taking place on the great esplanade of Guaratiba in Rio de Janeiro, which will be re-christened 'Campus Fidei'.

Catholics are to be offered 'indulgences', credits which earn you less time in Purgatory, for observing World Youth Day - and following the Pope's Brazilian activities online and on Twitter.

The Catholic Church of England and Wales said 800 young British Catholics have arrived in Rio this week for the celebrations, along with four English bishops; Birmingham's Archbishop Bernard Longley, Westminster's Bishop John Sherrington, Birmingham's Bishop William Kenney and East Anglia's Bishop Alan Hopes. Bishop Hugh Gilbert from Aberdeen will also attend.

Fr Federico Lombardi, the spokesman for the Holy See, said that the Pope would meet the Coordination Committee of the General Conference of the Latin American Episcopate, followed by a visit to the favela of Varginha, one of the country's poorest.

He will also go to a hospital which treats drug addicts and alcoholics and a prison where he will have meetings with young inmates.

Dilma Rousseff, the president of Brazil, will attend various events with the Pope, and other heads of state of Latin America have also been invited.

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