- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Thousands of Catholic Church faithful crowded for a glimpse of Pope Francis on Wednesday, as he visited small town Aparecida, venerated Brazil’s patron saint and delivered his first public Mass on his visit to the country.

“I have been up for almost 24 hours, most of that time on my feet and in the rain and the cold. But I don’t feel any pain. I feel bathed in God’s glory and that’s because of the pope,” said Nacilda de Oliveira Silva, 61, in The Associated Press. “For me, it’s the same thing as seeing Jesus pass by. That’s how moved I feel.”

Other pilgrims, who were hoping to see the pope, huddled under tarps for warmth, AP reported.

“I’ve been up all night in line. I’m soaked to the bone and freezing, but I’m so excited that it’s worth it,” said Natalia Pereira, 16, a high school student from Sao Paulo state, in the AP report. She called her 24-hour wait a “test of faith” and added that it “was an opportunity of a lifetime.”

The pope is in Brazil — his first foreign trip as pontiff — for World Youth Day, a church-sponsored event that occurs every three years and brings together tens of thousands of Catholics from around the world.

In Aparecida, he entered a chapel and wiped tears from his eyes as he stood and prayed before the Virgin of Aparecida, a 15-inch statue that represents the patron saint of Brazil, AP reported.

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