3 days before: Benedict preparing to visit Brazil and the "continent of hope"

Today at his Regina Caeli address Pope Benedict asked prayers for his journey to Brazil this week.

Zenit reports:

Benedict XVI says that his trip to Brazil will be an effort to promote the Church’s evangelization so that Latin America will more and more be “the continent of hope.”

The Pope said today at his Regina Caeli address: “This is my first pastoral visit to Latin America and I am preparing myself spiritually to visit the continent where almost half the Catholics of the whole world, many of them young people, live.”

“It is for this reason,” he added, “that Latin America has been given the name ‘continent of hope’: It is a hope that has to do not only with the Church but with the whole of America and the entire world.” [More...]

Zenit has additional coverage of Pope Benedict’s upcoming activities in Brazil here.

Reuters has a bit about the Cathedral Our Lady of Aparecida, “Latin America’s most popular shrine and one of the world’s largest cathedrals” which will be central to Benedict’s visit [it was originally inaugurated by Pope John Paul II]:

Every year millions of Brazilian and foreign pilgrims visit the shrine, in the city of Aparecida about 100 miles east of Brazil’s biggest city Sao Paulo.

Its story dates back to 1717 when three fishermen having a run of bad luck cast their nets in the River Paraiba and dragged up a headless statue of the Virgin Mary. They also salvaged the head and, according to the legend, then netted plenty of fish.

[More.]

Interior capacity? 45,000 worshippers.

Previous coverage of Pope Benedict’s visit to Brazil available here.

[top photo credit & caption: Ribbon bracelets for good luck {good luck?} with the phrase 'Friar Galvao pray for us' are seen at a store in Guaratingueta, Brazil, on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2007. Pope Benedict XVI will canonize Antonio de Sant'Anna Galvao, known as Friar Galvao, an 18th century Franciscan born in Guaratingueta, during the pontiff's visit to Brazil May 9-13. (AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano)]

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