Thousands of Catholics, curious pilgrims and Brazilian residents swarmed Pope Francis on Monday, his first overseas trip as pontiff aimed at marking the biennial World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro.
Security was tight — but not enough to withstand the crush, and bodyguards had difficulty pushing away the crowd from the pope’s car, a small silver Fiat, The Irish Times reported.
At one point, the swell of bodies was so deep that the car was actually forced to a halt.
The pope rode with windows down, in order to wave and greet the well-wishers and faithful.
In a speech shortly after arriving, the pope — who hails from Argentina — welcomed his return to the region.
“God wished that the first international trip of my pontificate should take me back to my beloved Latin America,” he said, The Irish Times reported.
He also spoke of recent protests in Brazil, a nation that’s seen growing unrest over the economy and political corruption.
“I ask everyone to show consideration toward each other and, if possible, the sympathy needed to establish friendly dialogue,” he said, The Irish Times reported.