.- The rector of the Pontifical Mexican College of Rome said local seminarians from Mexico are highly anticipating Pope Benedict's upcoming March 23-25 visit to their native country.
“It is a great joy to know that the Holy Father has set his eyes on our country to come as a missionary, as a pilgrim of faith, as a missionary of hope,” said Father Armando Flores Navarro.
In an interview with CNA on March 16, Fr. Navarro said the Pope's decision to visit Mexico and Cuba is “emblematic” and that his message will be valid for “all of Latin America and the different political, social, economic and cultural circumstances that the countries of Latin America are experiencing.”
He added that the Pontiff's trip comes at a time when Mexico is facing immense challenges, such as the growth of violence and the loss of faith.
Mexicans need to listen to the Pope, the rector emphasized, “and in this sense we expect a message that encourages us to work for peace each day and that strengthens us to embrace the sole mission of the Church, with a spirit of renewal and with joy and enthusiasm, which is evangelization.”
The priests at the Pontifical Mexican College in Rome are from various dioceses in Mexico and have been sent by their bishops to complete post-graduate studies or to earn a specialized degree at one of the Pontifical universities in Rome.
One of the priests who is most excited about the papal trip is Father Emmanuel Leal Montes of the Diocese of La Paz.
He said the priests in his community in Rome have been preparing conferences on the Pope and his life, as well as his relationship with the media in order to have a better understanding of the upcoming apostolic trip.
They have also launched a “fan page” and a blog where they are posting articles related to Pope Benedict and his visit.
“We are celebrating this encounter with the Holy Father with joy and also aware of our task to carry out evangelization,” Fr. Montes said.