Hundreds of thousands of pre-Lenten Carnival-goers diverted their attention from the festivities to pay attention to the news of Pope Benedict’s resignation.
National television networks halted their coverage of the four-day festival Feb. 11 to dedicate most of the morning broadcasts to the news coming from the Vatican and reactions from Brazilians.
Organizers of the World Youth Day 2013, set for July 23-28 in Rio de Janeiro, said that plans will continue as scheduled even though the identity of the new pope would not be known for several weeks.
Archbishop Orani Joao Tempesta of Rio de Janeiro said shortly after the papal announcement that while Catholics were stunned with the news, young people remained committed to making the six-day celebration of faith a momentous event.
“We in Rio de Janeiro hope to welcome the new pope and hundreds of thousands of youths from around the world for this encounter with Jesus Christ,” he told reporters.