Palm Desert -

Thirty-one people from Catholic churches in the Coachella Valley are among about 1 million people expected in Rio de Janeiro for World Youth Day, a spokesman for the local Catholic diocese said today.

Nineteen parishioners from Sacred Heart Parish in Palm Desert, 10 from
St. Louis Catholic Church in Cathedral City and two from Our Lady of Soledad
Catholic Church in Coachella made the trek to Brazil for World Youth Day, which
officially opens tomorrow, said John Andrews of the Diocese of San Bernardino,
which covers Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

Pope Francis arrived in Rio de Janeiro today for World Youth Day, his first international trip as pontiff since he was elected in March.  The festival, which is held every few years and draws young Catholics from around the world, continues through Sunday.

Andrews said a total of 97 people from the diocese are taking part in World Youth Day. The Coachella Valley churches couldn't be immediately reached
for details on when their members left and how long they would be in Brazil,
but photos on Sacred Heart's Facebook page showed their group in Lima, Peru,
and Sao Paulo, Brazil, where they apparently stopped on the way.

World Youth Day has been held once in the United States, in Denver in
1993, and was started in 1986 by Pope John Paul II.