ROME — The president of the Brazilian bishops’ conference, Cardinal Raymundo Damasceno Assis, has confirmed that Pope Francis will travel to Brazil in July to participate in World Youth Day 2013.
The statements by the archbishop of Aparecida concur with recent statements by the archbishop of Rio, who said Benedict XVI told him that either he or his successor would be present for the event.
Cardinal Damasceno, who was still in Rome after the conclave, said, “I had the chance to speak with Bergoglio, and he told me he is going to Brazil.”
“I know him well. And we worked together in Aparecida. It was a great lesson,” the cardinal said, recalling the Fifth General Conference of the Latin American Bishops’ Council, which took place in Aparecida in May of 2007.
During the meeting, then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was president of the committee responsible for drafting the bishops’ final document, which was later sent to the Vatican for approval.
Cardinal Damasceno said that, during the conclave, Pope Francis gained votes a little at a time and was not a favorite at first. “Bergoglio started surging, and it was a wonderful surprise,” he said.
WYD Rio 2013 will take place July 23-28 in Rio de Janeiro. Some 4 million young people from around the world are expected to attend.
The theme for the gathering is Jesus’ command, “Go and make disciples of all peoples.”