A young woman raises her arms during a Mass April 12 to mark the start of the 100-day countdown to World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro. World Youth Day 2013 runs from July 23 to 28 in Rio de Janeiro.

CNS PHOTO | RICARDO MORAES, REUTERS

A young woman raises her arms during a Mass April 12 to mark the start of the 100-day countdown to World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro. World Youth Day 2013 runs from July 23 to 28 in Rio de Janeiro.

April 22, 2013

Members of the local organizing committee for World Youth Day say that, with the recent election of an Argentine pope, they expect up to 2.5 million young people at the international event in Rio de Janeiro.

“We currently have 200,000 pilgrims already registered, but registrations go on until the last day of the event,” said Carol de Castro, press coordinator for the local organizing committee.

She said the committee expects 800,000 pilgrims to have registered by the start of the event, which runs July 23-28.

The Vatican has not announced the exact dates Pope Francis will attend but has indicated it will be his first international trip.

Argentines make up the largest group of foreign nationals chosen to be volunteers during the six-day event.

About 15 per cent of the 60,000 volunteers chosen are from Pope Francis’ birth nation.