Pope Francis’ apostolic visit to Mexico has begun with a huge crowd. The Pope landed last night at the airport of Mexico City, where he was welcomed by local authorities and by the leaders of the Episcopal Conference. In particular, he was warmly welcomed by thousands of people who crowded on the streets surrounding the capital’s airport. Then, Bergoglio tweeted: “In Mexico, I will look in the eyes of the Virgin Mary and beg her to continue to look at us with mercy. I entrust my journey to her.”
Francis felt the kindliness of the Mexican people immediately. The welcome ceremony was informal, but enriched with songs and dances. Bergoglio talked to a group of children, waved to the crowd, blessed everyone and received a sombrero as a gift from a Mariachi. A brief conversation with the President of the Republic, Pena Nieto, then in his popemobile, Francis went to the nunciature, where he will stay till his departure for the Vatican. No speeches or meetings: everything is put off till 5 p.m., when the Pope will meet the world of politics, civil society, and the diplomatic corps at the National Palace in Mexico City.
Almost an hour’s drive (19 km), between two wings of the crowd that welcomed Francis. The road was enlightened by thousands of mobile phones that wanted to immortalize the Pontiff. Safety is impeccable: the security service involved 160,000 volunteers called by the organization to offer their help. Twenty thousand police officers who watched over Bergoglio’s safety, though there seems no particular concerns. The cities had begun to prepare weeks ago, repairing all the great boulevards that run through the main districts.
Besides the socio-political aspects of this journey, it is necessary to recall that Francis is in Mexico first of all to pray before the image of the Lady of Guadalupe, “that mystery – as the Pope himself said – for which there are no human explanations”. The icon is located in one of the most visited shrines in the world. The Pope came to Mexico also to invite the local Church to go out and reach the forgotten suburbs, strengthening the work of evangelization. During these hours, many people are looking for the last available tickets for the celebrations. There are about one million and one hundred thousand printed tickets.
(Update in progress)