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President Lula to invite Pope Francis to Brazilian Catholic festival

by Reuters Journalist

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said on Saturday that he will invite Pope Francis to visit the Catholic festival of the Cirio de Nazare, which takes place annually in October in the northern city of Belem.

Lula travels to Europe next week and will have an audience with Pope Francis on Tuesday.

"I want to invite him to come to Brazil again. But I wanted to invite him to come to the Cirio celebration here, Lula said during an event in the state of Para. "It would be extraordinary if he could participate."

Lula had a phone call with Pope Francis on May 31 to discuss topics such as the war in Ukraine and environmental protection in Brazil.

The government confirmed that Lula invited Francis to visit Brazil during the phone call, adding the Roman Catholic leader indicated he would consider the invitation. 

The Cirio de Nazare festival, in devotion to Our Lady of Nazareth, is Brazil’s biggest religious celebration. It came with Portuguese colonizers in 1793 and sees about two million people gathering in pilgrimages and processions.

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