Highlights of the Pope’s visit
Pope Francis’ visit to Mexico is his first as pontiff. He is the third Pope to visit the country: St. John Paul II visited Mexico five times over the course of his 27 year pontificate and Benedict XVI went there in 2012.
During his visit, the Pope celebrated Mass with priests, religious, consecrated persons and seminarians in Morelia, Mexico: He met briefly with children from Mexico representing schools and various dioceses and archdioceses, when he visited the cathedral of Morelia. As he left the cathedral, a youth choir sang for him.The young people of Morelia went all out to welcome Pope Francis, greeting him with endless cheering and also performing a complex show with music, choreography, lights and a huge flowing banner depicting a dove. The Pope appeared delighted to be among them.
When the Pope met and had lunch with representatives of indigenous people in Chiapas he praised their contribution and adherence to traditional ways of life. He also spoke out against destruction of the environment. Mexico’s indigenous population featured in his speeches since his very first day in the country. The Pope called for a recognition of their many contributions in building a pluralistic and prosperous nation brimming with potential.
Pope Francis then visited Federico Gómez children’s hospital in Mexico City. He met the children being treated there, gave them rosaries and prayed with them. Before leaving, he made a private visit to the hospital’s chemotherapy wing . Putting his words into action, he visited children with cancer and said that sometimes a single caress helps them recover.
Throughout his visit to Mexico, Pope Francis expressed his concern for people’s social problems, pain and suffering and shared optimistic messages of hope and comfort. His smile graced all his language and his expressions of love permanently underscored his words.
“The tears of those who suffer do not go unseen,” he said, while showing concern about “children and displaced persons”. He invited the faithful to be, like St. Juan Diego, the ambassadors of the Virgin of Guadalupe through deeds of mercy true to the Gospel of the Beatitudes.
The Holy Father expressed his concern about aimless youth, especially noting that young people are Mexico’s greatest asset. He spoke words of comfort for the neglected elderly and at all times highlighted mercy as a Christian duty.
The Pope also warned that we should avoid three common temptations: ill-gotten wealth (from drug trafficking, corruption and other causes), the vanity of placing ourselves above the rest and pride — three temptations which Christ also faced in the wilderness. The Pope noted that Jesus did not even reply to any of these temptations, because you don’t dialogue with the devil.
The Pope would like to see a Mexico that is a land of opportunity for all, so people don’t have to leave their homeland in search of a better life. The issue of migration — not only in Mexico but in the world — is therefore present in his words and his heart as he calls for solidarity and mercy at all times.
The Holy Father’s message no doubt touched the hearts of many people going through various circumstances. Today he reminds us that he comes as a missionary of Mercy and Peace — a peace that Mexico cries out for in the midst of so much violence, injustice and inequality.
The Aid to the Church in Need Foundation of the Holy See was present and closely observed the Holy Father’s activities. Through social networks and standard media, the foundation then echoes all his words and attitudes, aware that the Church “should not rest on its laurels” and must fulfill its mission.