Francis begins the first apostolic journey of his pontificate

Pope Francis boarded a flight to Rio de Janeiro this morning, beginning the first apostolic journey of his pontificate.

He was pictured walking up the stairs to the plane carrying his own travel bag.

The plane left Leonardo da Vinci International Airport in Rome at 8:45am and will arrive in Brazil at 4pm Rome time.

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Shortly after he touches down the Pope will take part in an arrival ceremony at Rio’s Galeao-Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport.

An hour later he will attend a welcoming ceremony in the Guanabara Palace garden, where he will make a speech.

Afterwards, he will pay a courtesy visit to Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff in the Guanabara Palace.

The Pope is travelling to Brazil for World Youth Day, which officially begins tomorrow and ends on July 28.

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