Pope Francis spent Tuesday resting following his arrival here in his first international trip as pope during which his car was mobbed by throngs of well-wishers who excitedly closed in on his convoy and prevented the pontiff from reaching his reception ceremony on time.
His arrival animated tens of thousands of young Catholics cramming the Rio city center, as they waved flags, chanted slogans, and swarmed the four-door Fiat he was riding in.
“It was so amazing when he was selected, we just couldn’t believe it. We cried and hugged one another,” Alicia Velazquez said. “I personally want to see if he’s still the same man as simple and humble whom we all knew. I have faith that he’s remained the same.”
Francis’ driver missed lanes that had been cleared on a boulevard, taking the car down a lane that was not lined with fencing and with no uniformed police in sight to control crowds.
Dozens of Vatican and Brazilian plain-clothes security officials had trouble keeping the crowds back but it did not appear to bother Francis. The bulletproof popemobile was left in Rome.
Francis rolled down his back-seat window, waved to the crowd, and touched those who reached inside. He kissed a baby a woman handed to him.