Roman Catholic

Thousands Greet Pope Francis in Brazil

First official trip as pontiff


RIO DE JANEIRO — Pope Francis returned Monday to South America on his first official trip since becoming pontiff, thrilling a picture-taking, flag-waving, dancing and singing crowd of thousands energized by the breath of fresh air he has brought to the Vatican.

The Argentine-born pope, who has added a sense of humility and a common touch to the Vatican, came to Brazil to attend World Youth Day, an annual international gathering of young Catholics. But expectations are high in Brazil and throughout Latin America among many who are looking for the church to reengage with the region's pressing social issues.