Pope Francis speaks during a gathering with Argentine youths at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro, on Thrusday. Pope Francis urged young Brazilians not to despair in the battle against corruption Thursday as he addressed their country's political problems in the wake of massive protests.
Credit Nelson Almeida / AFP/Getty Images
During the fourth day of his first foreign visit, Pope Francis headed to the Varginha favela in Rio de Janeiro.
As NPR's Lourdes Garcia Navarro described it to our Newscast unit, the shantytown was not prettied up for the pope. Its river remained clogged with sewage and dirt, and the houses were still slapped together.
"It's an extremely poor community," Lourdes said. "I think the pope wanted to come here to highlight his very personal message of affinity with the poor."
Pope Francis arrives Monday evening in Rio de Janeiro for a weeklong visit celebrating World Youth Day. Hundreds of thousands of Catholics have made the pilgrimage to see the Argentine-born pontiff, and he is expected to receive a rapturous welcome.
Still, Pope Francis's visit comes at a delicate time for the church in Brazil. Catholicism — the nation's main religion — is facing a huge challenge from evangelicals.
As part of this week's Sense of Place: Rio series, World Cafe revisits a 2004 session with Brazilian singer Vinicius Cantuária. At the time, he was in the midst of a string of highly praised albums, beginning with 1996's Sol Na Cara.
In this interview, Cantuária discusses his love of Tom Jobim, moving to New York City in 1994 and how he feels somehow "more Brazilian" here in the U.S.