Pope may meet footballers

2013-04-18 19:32
Pope Francis (AFP)

Vatican - Pope Francis may meet with footballers during his trip to Brazil for this year's global Catholic youth festival in Rio de Janeiro which two million young people are expected to attend, organisers said on Thursday.

"A meeting with football players is one of the ideas on the table" for the July trip, Eric Jacquinet told the Catholic SIR news agency, though it was not clear whether the 76-year-old Argentinian pope would watch a match.

"We can reasonably expect some two million young people to converge in Rio" for the event, he said.

The pope's schedule for the July 23 to 28 trip has yet to be set, but Jacquinet said it was likely the pontiff would visit the Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady, in Aparecida, which houses a celebrated 18th-century clay statue of the Virgin Mary.

A Vatican delegation will travel to Brazil next week and will meet with the pope on its return to begin deciding the timetable for the newly-elected pontiff's first World Youth Day.

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