AP PHOTOS: Pope observes Via Crucis on Copacabana

The Associated Press
View photos
Nuns celebrate and take pictures as Pope Francis arrives to give Angelus noon prayer as they stand on a balcony at Sao Joaquim Palace in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Friday, July 26, 2013. Pope Francis is on the fifth day of his trip to Brazil where he will attend the 2013 World Youth Day in Rio. (AP Photo/Luca Zennaro, Pool)

Pope Francis started off Friday by hearing confessions from a half-dozen young pilgrims in a Rio de Janeiro park and met privately with a group of juvenile detainees, a priority of his ever since his days as archbishop of Buenos Aires.

A white tent was set up to receive the faithful for confession, with small makeshift confessionals off to the side. Five youths, chosen through a raffle, were selected for confession.

The pontiff then praised the elderly during the Catholic Church's festival of youth, saying grandparents are critical for passing on wisdom and religious heritage and are a "treasure to be preserved and strengthened."

Francis ended the day by presiding over one of the church's most solemn rites, a procession re-enacting Christ's crucifixion that was held on Rio's Copacabana beach.

Copacabana, which hosts Carnival, staged a wildly theatrical telling of the Way of the Cross, complete with huge stage sets, complex lighting, a full orchestra and a cast of hundreds acting out a modern version of the biblical story.

After the pope left Copacabana, a group of about 200 anti-government protesters arrived near the stage, the latest in hundreds of such demonstrations to hit Brazil since June.

Here's a gallery of images from the fifth day of the pope' visit to Brazil.


AP photographers and photo editors on Twitter: http://apne.ws/15Oo6jo