RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Pope Francis is landing Monday in a Brazil electric with anticipation for the pontiff's first international trip.
He's heading into the open arms of his home continent, and mammoth crowds are expected to celebrate Mass on Rio's Copacabana beach.
The pope is coming to meet with legions of young Roman Catholics converging on Rio for the church's World Youth Day festival.
More than 1 million people are expected to pack the white sands of Copacabana to celebrate Mass with Francis. He also will visit a tiny chapel in a trash-strewn slum, and grassroots Catholics love that he plans a side trip to venerate Brazil's patron saint.
But the pope also is coming to a region where millions have left the Catholic Church for rival Pentecostal evangelical churches or secularism.
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