Lula to invite Pope Francis to Brazil's Cirio de Nazare festival

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said on Saturday that he would invite Pope Francis to visit the Catholic festival of the Cirio de Nazare.
Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva attends a joint news conference with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, at Moncloa Palace in Madrid, Spain April 26, 2023.
Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva attends a joint news conference with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, at Moncloa Palace in Madrid, Spain April 26, 2023. REUTERS/Juan Medina/File Photo

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - 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.

(Reporting by Steven Grattan; Editing by Aurora Ellis)

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