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Pope to travel to Brazil for 2013 youth festival

RIO DE JANEIRO--Pope Benedict XVI will travel to Brazil next July for a youth festival where he will be welcomed at the country's famous Copacabana beach, a local church official said Friday.

The next World Youth Day festival of the Roman Catholic Church will be held in Rio de Janeiro July 23-28 2013 and is expected to draw thousands of young faithful.

“The welcome of Pope Benedict XVI by young people from around the world will take place at Copacabana, as well as the opening Mass with Rio Archbishop Orani Joao Tempesta and the Stations of the Cross,” Father Arnaldo Rodrigues, one of the organizers, told AFP.

It will be the second time the gathering has been held in Latin America, after Buenos Aires in 1987.

Brazil has an estimated 125 million Catholics, and is the largest Catholic country in the world.

The pontiff's arrival date has not been released.

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