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In Mexico City, Pope laments drug trade, calls upon faithful to imitate St. Juan Diego

February 15, 2016

On February 13, his first full day in Mexico, Pope Francis addressed political leaders at the National Palace, spoke to bishops at the Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral, and celebrated Mass at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

“Today I come as a missionary of mercy and of peace but also as a son who wishes to pay homage to his mother, the Blessed Virgin of Guadalupe, and place himself under her watchful care,” Pope Francis said at the National Palace.

Paying tribute to the nation’s biodiversity and diversity of cultures, Pope Francis said that Mexico’s “principal richness” is its youthful population. “A people with a youthful population is a people able to renew and transform itself,” he said, adding:

Experience teaches us that each time we seek the path of privileges or benefits for a few to the detriment of the good of all, sooner or later the life of society becomes a fertile soil for corruption, drug trade, exclusion of different cultures, violence and also human trafficking, kidnapping and death, bringing suffering and slowing down development.

As he addressed the Mexican bishops, he urged them to reflect the gaze of Our Lady of Guadalupe, offering “a gaze of tenderness,” “a vision that can build,” “a vision that close and attentive, not dormant,” “a holistic and unified vision.”

“Do not lose time or energy in secondary things, in gossip or intrigue, in conceited schemes of careerism, in empty plans for superiority, in unproductive groups that seek benefits or common interests,” he said.

“I am concerned about those many persons who, seduced by the empty power of the world, praise illusions and embrace their macabre symbols to commercialize death in exchange for money which, in the end, ‘moth and rust consume’ and ‘thieves break in and steal’ (Mt. 6:19),” the Pope added. “I urge you not to underestimate the moral and antisocial challenge which the drug trade represents for the youth and for Mexican society as a whole, as well as for the Church.”

Celebrating evening Mass at Guadalupe, Pope Francis recalled the Blessed Virgin’s appearance to St. Juan Diego:

On that morning in December 1531, the first miracle occurred which would then be the living memory of all this Shrine protects. On that morning, at that meeting, God awakened the hope of his son Juan, and the hope of a People. On that morning, God roused the hope of the little ones, of the suffering, of those displaced or rejected, of all who feel they have no worthy place in these lands. On that morning, God came close and still comes close to the suffering but resilient hearts of so many mothers, fathers, grandparents who have seen their children leaving, becoming lost or even being taken by criminals. On that morning, Juancito experienced in his own life what hope is, what the mercy of God is.

Pope Francis called upon the faithful to hear the message of Our Lady of Guadalupe and imitate St. Juan Diego.

“Am I not your mother? Am I not here? Do not let trials and pains overwhelm you, she tells us,” the Pope said.

“Today, she sends us out anew; as she did Juanito, today, she comes to tell us again: be my ambassador, the one I send to build many new shrines, accompany many lives, wipe away many tears,” he continued, adding:

Simply be my ambassador by walking along the paths of your neighbourhood, of your community, of your parish; we can build shrines by sharing the joy of knowing that we are not alone, that Mary accompanies us. Be my ambassador, she says to us, giving food to the hungry, drink to those who thirst, a refuge to those in need, clothe the naked and visit the sick. Come to the aid of those in prison, do not leave them alone, forgive whoever has offended you, console the grieving, be patient with others, and above all beseech and pray to God. And in the silence tell him what is in our heart.


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