AP PHOTOS: Pope observes Via Crucis on Copacabana

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Associated Press

Posted on July 27, 2013 at 2:35 AM

Updated Saturday, Jul 27 at 3:31 AM

Pope Francis started off Friday by hearing confessions from a half-dozen young pilgrims in a Rio de Janeiro park and met privately with a group of juvenile detainees, a priority of his ever since his days as archbishop of Buenos Aires.

A white tent was set up to receive the faithful for confession, with small makeshift confessionals off to the side. Five youths, chosen through a raffle, were selected for confession.

The pontiff then praised the elderly during the Catholic Church's festival of youth, saying grandparents are critical for passing on wisdom and religious heritage and are a "treasure to be preserved and strengthened."

Francis ended the day by presiding over one of the church's most solemn rites, a procession re-enacting Christ's crucifixion that was held on Rio's Copacabana beach.

Copacabana, which hosts Carnival, staged a wildly theatrical telling of the Way of the Cross, complete with huge stage sets, complex lighting, a full orchestra and a cast of hundreds acting out a modern version of the biblical story.

After the pope left Copacabana, a group of about 200 anti-government protesters arrived near the stage, the latest in hundreds of such demonstrations to hit Brazil since June.

Here's a gallery of images from the fifth day of the pope' visit to Brazil.

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AP photographers and photo editors on Twitter: http://apne.ws/15Oo6jo

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