Tens of thousands of young Catholics from around the world flocked to Rio's famed Copacabana beach on Tuesday to kick off a youth festival that will feature several appearances by Pope Francis.
Bikinis and beach volleyball gave way to rosaries and prayers for world peace as youths settled on the urban shoreline for a night of religious events related to World Youth Day, a biennial gathering of young Catholics.
(Read more: Draghi confesses to pope: We are frustrated , too)
The 76-year-old pope, the first pontiff from Latin America, took a rest day on Tuesday after a tumultuous welcome during his arrival on Monday that prompted security concerns when police failed to contain frenzied crowds that mobbed his car.
As Brazilian officials worked to avoid a repeat of such incidents for the remainder of his weeklong visit, Catholic youth, waving their national flags and singing religious songs, gathered along the beach for an evening Mass.