.- A priest overseeing Pope Benedict's March 23-25 visit to Mexico said that nearly 200 bishops and 3000 priests are expected to concelebrate Mass with the pontiff in the city of Leon.
“All of the country’s bishops as well as representatives of the bishops' conferences of all the countries of North and South America have been invited to the Mass,” Father Jorge Raul Villegas, director of logistics for the trip, told CNA.
Mexico’s president, Felipe Calderon, as well as other civil authorities and diplomats, have also received an invitation to the Mass which will take place near Cubilete Hill outside the city of Leon, the priest said.
Fr. Villegas said the chalice to be used during the Mass will be brought by the Pope from Rome. “This is the custom when he visits a country, and he leaves the chalice there as a momento. The altar and all the furnishings are especially for this celebration.”
The Archdiocese of Leon School of Music and the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music of the Diocese of Zelaya will provide the music for the Mass and all “together there will be an orchestra of 260 musicians participating in the Mass,” he said.
Fr. Villegas added the orchestra is rehearsing the official song for the visit, which it will perform to welcome the Holy Father before Mass.
“The song is about welcoming him, about his presence in Mexico and on our continent as a sign of hope, about how we are welcoming him with affection, love and as a pilgrim of hope who is coming to speak to us in God’s name,” he explained.
Some 75,000 young people from across Mexico will volunteer to help with security and “will be dressed in white and yellow, the official Vatican colors,” Fr. Villegas said.