Pope Francis Will Visit Slum, Not Use Popemobile in Rio

Booked to stay in a modest residence, the Holy Father avoids special treatment during his WYD visit.

(photo: World Youth Day Facebook)

VATICAN CITY — During next week’s World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro, Pope Francis will be staying in a modest residence, visiting a slum and traveling without his popemobile.

“It was thought that the Pope does not feel he is treated differently from others,” said Sister Irma Terezinha, who is in charge of the Center for Sumaré, where the Pope will be staying.

“He does not like individualism; everything is done the same way for everyone, and nothing will be different for him,” she added in an interview with Correio do Brasil.

Auxiliary Bishop Roque Costa Souza of Rio de Janeiro told the Brazilian daily that Pope Francis' room will have the same things as the other seven rooms of the residence.

The items include a small wooden table, a wardrobe and a cooler similar to those in hotel rooms. The Center for Sumaré, a residence built in the 1950s, underwent restoration just a few months ago, and the Holy Father will be staying there alongside 37 other priests and cardinals.

Blessed John Paul II also slept in the same residence during his visits to the city.

On the Pope’s agenda will also be a visit to one of Rio’s favelas — the slum of Varginha — and a visit to St. Francis Hospital in Providence, where Franciscans look after alcohol and drug addicts.

Before his visit to Varginha, which is home to around 2,000 people, Pope Francis will bless the Olympic flags and be given the keys to the city.

The Vatican Press Office director, Father Federico Lombardi, said Pope Francis decided to not travel with the popemobile during the event, but will use instead the jeep that is used during general audiences at the Vatican. However, he will travel in a closed car during long journeys.

Father Lombardi revealed that the Holy Father’s agenda also includes a visit to Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff, and Rio de Janeiro’s mayor and state governor.

The event’s opening Mass on Wedneday, July 24, will not include the Pope, although it was originally planned to be celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI.

The Mass will instead be lead by Archbishop Orani Tempesta of Rio de Janeiro and the president of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for the Laity, Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko.

World Youth Day will host a large party for the youth taking part in the event during the night of July 25.

The Stations of the Cross will be led by Pope Francis on Friday, July 26, and he will share a meal with 12 young people — two each from six continents — according to Father Lombardi.

On Saturday, July 27, the Holy Father will lead an evening vigil, followed by Mass the next day, where he will announce the country that will host the next World Youth Day.