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STORY: The Pope, who has a public devotion to the Virgin Mary, personally requested a visit to Aparecida, which is home to the world's largest Marian shrine.
The Basilica houses a statue of Our Lady of Aparecida, thought to have been found in the Paraiba River in 1717. It is made of clay and measures about 14 inches in height.
The main purpose of the pope's trip is to Brazil is to conduct the Catholic Church's World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro, an international gathering sometimes dubbed a "Catholic Woodstock" that takes place in a different city every two to three years.
The National Shrine's rector, Father Domingos Savio, explained the game plan as soon as the pope arrives to Aparecida.
"He (the pope) will take a lap through this chapel immediately where he will conduct his first prayer in the shrine. One of the pope's wishes was to come here to Aparecida and pray here with the image of the Virgin Mary. We offered and th