Throngs of Catholics flocked to Rio's iconic Copacabana Beach for the opening mass of the Church's World Youth Day.
Some 400,000 worshipers from all over the world withstood the rain and windy weather as the program got underway.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) MICHAEL ARCHER, AUSTRIAN, SAYING:
"What I hope from this World Youth Day is really to meet Christ, in this church, you know, and also to meet Christ with all my brothers and sisters that are hear around, you know. And I am very proud to do that.
The week-long event is expected to draw more than one million people anxious to to see Pope Francis.
The Pope arrived in Brazil a day before but did not participate in the mass so he could rest ahead of more events later in the week.
World Youth Day opens in Brazil (0:47)
July 24 - Hundreds of thousands of Catholics gathered in Rio de Janerio for the start of World Youth Day. Julie Noce reports. ( Transcript )