.- At Guanajuato's Bicentennial Park, some Mexican Catholics had been waiting all night to celebrate Mass with Pope Benedict XVI on March 25.
It was well worth the wait, they told CNA.
âFatigue and sleepiness are nothing if it means seeing the Pope,â said 36-year-old EsaÃºl JÃmÃ©nez.
âAfter many hours of waiting we got in here (Bicentennial Park) at 1:00 a.m. today, Sunday,â JÃmÃ©nez recalled. âBut we couldnât sleep because of the music and happiness.â
During the early hours of the morning, a sea of people converged on the park to secure their spaces for the Pope's appearance and his celebration of Mass the next day.
Lively cheers and expressions of affection met Pope Benedict â especially as he rode around for nearly half an hour wearing a black Mexican sombrero.
Almir GÃ³mez, from Salamanca in the state of Guanajuato, said the Pope's visit has been âan extraordinary experience for all of us; something very beautiful.â
âPeople havenât stopped singing and dancing since last night,â he said on Sunday.
GÃ³mez hopes that all young people take Pope Benedict's message seriously â so that âafter the Popeâs visit we are left with the seeds for peace,â needed to help Mexico during a difficult and violent time.
Approximately 600,000 people joined the Pope as he offered the Eucharistic celebration in 93-degree heat. The temperature did not lessen the enthusiasm of the crowds, who were provided with water from a number of trucks.
âI really wanted to see the Pope, and thanks be to God it came true,â said Cristina Mendieta of Jalisco.
âIâm here with so many young people before the Holy Father, who I know is a person who has much to give. Iâm here to get something from him.â
Victoria Pantoja, 19, was among the thousands of volunteers who helped with the security of the enclosure at the park.
âIâm so excited for having seen the Pope and think itâs an unforgettable experience,â said Pantoja.
She and her fellow volunteers could be identified by the traditional âayateâ â a type of poncho â with the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe on one side and the Sanctuary of Christ the King on the other.
Jorge LÃ³pez, 18, came to Bicentennial Park to hear a message of âpeace and hope from the Pope that is so needed by this country. I also hope that our faith grows.â
âIâm excited to be here,â said Paula Garza Ojeda, wife and mother of three children, who was especially happy âto see so many young people gathered here today.â
Miguel Paire MasÃas, who was able to see the Pope at World Youth day last August in Madrid, said he hoped Mexicans would âencounter God through the Holy Fatherâs message.â
Young people welcomed the Pope with rhyming chants on Sunday, as they did at his previous appearances during the visit to Guanajuato. One of the popular chants declared: âSe siente, se siente, el Papa estÃ¡ presente.â (âHeâs coming, heâs coming, the Pope is now here.â)
âBenedicto, amigo, Juan Pablo estÃ¡ contigo,â ran another â âBenedict, friend, John Paul is with you.â