Pope Francis begins a weeklong visit to Brazil today. The pontiff will visit churches and slums and hospitals in Rio de Janeiro and other parts of the country.

Brazil has the world's largest Catholic population, and the nation is particularly excited for the visit from the first Latin American pope. Francis hails from Argentina and served as bishop of Buenos Aires before his election earlier this year.

On Monday, the pope will attend a welcoming ceremony at the garden of the Palácio Guanabara in Rio de Janeiro.

On Tuesday, the pope has a rest day. The original itinerary, drawn up for Francis' predecessor Benedict XVI before he stepped down, included two rest days. Frances cut one to allow for more time in public.

Wednesday begins with a visit to the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida, a shrine dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Then Francis will attend the opening of a drug rehabilitation center in Rio.

On Thursday, the pope receives the key to the city from Rio's mayor. Then he will visit Varginha, a slum in the northern part of Rio. This trip echoes John Paul II's visit to Vidigal, a slum in the southern part of the city in 1980. Francis will speak directly with residents and give blessings. The pope has also indicated that he will not be using the bulletproof "Popemobile" used by his predecessors. Francis is known for his contact locals, often straying into crowds to pray for supplicants or give personal blessings.

Afterward, the pope will attend the welcoming ceremony for World Youth Day, an event that will draw millions of young pilgrims from around the world.

On Friday, the pope will meet with young inmates. It's likely he will wash their feet, as he did before shortly after his election, when he caused a stir by washing the feet of female inmates as well.

On Saturday, the pope will give a Mass, lunch with cardinals, and give a speech for World Youth Day.

On his final day in Brazil, Francis will celebrate Mass and give a speech to WYD pilgrims and volunteers before flying back to Rome in the evening.