Pope Francis spent a week in Brazil for World Youth Day. It was a magnificent event, culminating in a Mass on Rio's Copacabana Beach and attended by over three million people.
All of the Pope's actions sought to emphasise a posture of simplicity and closeness to the people: he emerged from the plane carrying his own hand luggage, he chose a simple car, he was driven with the car windows down and he left the 'Popemobile' many times to embrace people, especially children, the disabled and the elderly.
I was with him in São Joaquim Palace, in the Archdiocese of Rio, and I heard him say the following phrase: "Pray for me." This was another feature of the visit of Pope Francis: the attempt to recover the shared dimension of exercising the Christian faith.
In an interview with the journalist Gerson Camarotti, from the TV Globo network, he spoke out against the "idolatry of riches" and against the "globalisation of indifference". And in his sermons and speeches he always defended values such as hope and social justice.
These messages were well suited to Brazilian and Latin American society and were very well received, demonstrating his knowledge of the region. What will be the political and religious ramifications? Will Catholicism begin growing again in Brazil? Only time will tell.