Anticipation builds as Mexican Catholics await Pope Benedict
Ricardo Sheffield, mayor of Leon, receives the newspaper Benedictus, dedicated to the Pope's visit, March 22, 2012.
Ricardo Sheffield, mayor of Leon, receives the newspaper Benedictus, dedicated to the Pope's visit, March 22, 2012.

.- Just one day before Pope Benedict's arrival in Leon, Mexico, Catholics are counting down the final hours until the Pope makes his first historic visit to the country from March 23-26.

Patricia Eugenia Cruz, a local mother of two, told CNA that she awaits the Pope’s arrival “with great happiness” and hopes he “brings a message of peace and hope to all Mexicans, and also especially a message of charity.”

Pope Benedict will arrive at Guanajuato International Airport in the area of Silao, on Friday, March 23 at 4:30 p.m. where he will be received by the Archbishop of Leon, Jose Guadalupe Martin Rabago. 

Also present for the reception of the Pope will be the Apostolic Nuncio in Mexico, Msgr. Christophe Pierre, and the Federal President of the Republic of Mexico, Felipe Calderon.

Catholic Felipe Martinez, who spoke to CNA outside the Cathedral of Leon, said that “with the Pope’s visit, I hope that values will be renewed, that the Pope will newly give us these values so needed not only by Mexico but all of Latin America.”

Among the various shows of affections that the people of Leon will present to the Pope – in addition to the presence of 3500 Catholics – there will be a traditional group of Mariachis to celebrate his arrival.

Leon resident Mrs. Leo de Tejada said she expects “many blessings,” from the Pope’s visit, “because we all need them here in Mexico.

According to parishioner Jose Miguelon “all Mexicans are very happy, myself and my fellow countrymen, for this event we, the people of Leon, have.”

The streets and highways on the outskirts of Leon are filled with signs that announce Benedict’s arrival.  Among them can be seen signs that marks the Pope Mobile’s route and others that says Leon is ready to receive “the Pope and the world.”

In the opinion of Mauricio Velasquez, a father of two young children, Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to Mexico will be the source of “a message of peace and hope” to everyone.

Accountant Martin Ernesto Davalos Segura pointed out that “the Pope’s visit is great blessing” but even more so, given “that it was the Holy Father himself who decided to come.”

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