Throngs gather for pope’s Mass in Mexico
Cheering onlookers waved balloons, flags and banners as the pope arrived at Bicentennial Park in Mexico’s Guanajuato state. Many said they had spent the night camped out, awaiting the pope’s arrival.
More than 400,000 people attended the Mass, according to Mexico’s state-run Notimex news agency.
The pope urged Mexican Catholics to remain true to their faith, and called on the Virgin Mary to “continue accompanying and protecting her beloved Mexican and Latin American children, so that Christ reigns in their lives and helps them to boldly promote peace, harmony, justice and solidarity.”
The Archbishop of Leon asked the pope to deliver a message of hope to crowds gathered Sunday, noting that Mexico faces “events of violence and death that have created a painful sensation of fear, impotence and pain.”
“We know that this dramatic reality has perverse roots that feed it, poverty, the absence of opportunity, corruption, impunity, the inefficient administration of justice,” Archbishop of Leon Jose Guadalupe Martin Rabago said.
The pope arrived in Mexico on Friday on his first trip to Spanish-speaking Latin America. He visited Portuguese-speaking Brazil in 2007 and the United States a year later.
He is scheduled to arrive in Cuba Monday.
Guanajuato state, which is hosting the pontiff, boasts the highest percentage of Catholics in Mexico — well over 90 percent. Nationally, the number of Catholics is 83 percent, according to Mexico’s National Institute of Statistics and Geography.