DAILY CATHOLIC FRIDAY - January 22 to WEDNESDAY - January 27, 1999
JOHN PAUL II RETURNS TO THE AMERICAS IN WHAT IS POSSIBLY HIS FAREWELL TOUR TO THE NEW WORLD
January 24, 1999
SECOND DAY OF JOY FOR MEXICO AND THE WHOLE AMERICAN CONTINENT
MEXICO CITY, 24 (NE) A great multitude crowded the streets of the Mexican capital to greet the Holy Father on his second day of pilgrimage to Mexico. On this occasion the warm expressions of love and welcome begun little after 8 o'clock in the morning, time when the Pontiff went to the Basilica of Guadalupe. The voices cried: "John Paul II, the whole world loves you," accompanying the greetings with thousands of Vatican and Mexican banners.
At the arrival to the Basilica, and being received by thousands of persons that waited from early in the morning, the Successor of Peter blessed the image of Blessed Juan Diego at the Parish of the Indians, located at the enormous esplanade outside the Basilica known as the Atrium of the Americas.
The Eucharistic celebration was presided over by the Pope, together with 500 cardinals and bishops, as well as 5000 priests. Outside the Basilica giant screens were installed so that the people that filled the Atrium of the Americas and the surroundings of the temple could participate from the Mass.
At the beginning of the Mass, Cardinal Norberto Rivera, Archbishop of Mexico, held a brief welcome address in which he thanked the Holy Father's presence and efforts in the world. At the end of the Eucharist the Vicar of Christ gave the post-sinodal Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in America, which gathers the propositions of the Synod of Bishops for America, held at the end of 1997. It contains the main guidelines Pope John Paul II defines for the mission of the Church in this continent at the threshold of the new Millenium, inviting all Catholics to a New Evangelization.
In the afternoon the Holy Father went to the Presidential Residence of Los Pinos, in order to meet the Mexican president, Ernesto Zedillo, who ceremoniously received the Holy Father. They met in private for 43 minutes. After this the 175 members of the diplomatic corps also received the Holy Father.
POPE URGES TO AWAKEN THE CONSCIENCES OF MEN WITH THE GOSPEL
MEXICO CITY, 24 (NE) At the Basilica of Gaudalupe, Pope John Paul II gave yesterday an important homily for Catholics of the whole continent. It was interrupted many times by the applause of the multitude gathered at the Basilica. "Today we celebrate, in this Basilica of Guadalupe, Marian heart of the Americas, and we thank God for the special assembly for the Synod of America," said the Holy Father. "Today, one year after the celebration of that Synod Assembly, and in conjunction with the hundredth Anniversary of the Plenary Council for Latin America which took place in Rome, I have come here to place at the feet of the Virgin of the Tepeyac, Star of the New World, the Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in America, which places together all the contributions and pastoral suggestions of the Synod, entrusting to the Mother and Queen of this continent the future of its Evangelization."
The Holy Father, talking in Portuguese, reminded that America is the Continent of Hope, highlighting "the force of its numerous youth, the value given to family, the blossoming of the sacerdotal vocations and vocations to the consecrated life, and specially the deep religiosity of its peoples."
One of the most intense moments of the homily was the part pronounced in English, in which Pope John Paul II made a clear and energetic call to make the "Continent of Hope become also the Continent of Life. The time has come to eliminate all attack against life in the continent," he declared. "The Church must proclaim the Gospel of life and blame the culture of death... we must awaken the consciences of men and women with the Gospel, to emphasize their sublime vocation as children of God."
Lastly, the Pope declared that the 12th of December, throughout all America, should "be celebrated to the Virgin Mary of Guadalupe with the liturgical rank of Feast." He also expressed: "I want to entrust and offer the future of the Continent to the Virgin Mary, Mother of Christ and the Church." The Successor of Peter ended his homily praying to the Virgin Mary: "For you, Oh Lady of Guadalupe, Mother of Jesus and our Mother, honor, glory and praise from your sons and daughters of the American Continent. Amen."
CARDINAL RIVERA HIGHLIGHTS HOLY MARY'S ROLE IN THE NEW EVANGELIZATION OF AMERICA
MEXICO CITY, 24 (NE) "America and the Pope, under the ever sweet and everlasting gaze of this Queen of Mexico and Empress of the Americas! 20 years ago, your Holiness, fell in love with Her, and Mary has guided you to cover all fields of the world and to everywhere plant the face of God." With these words Cardinal Norberto Rivera, Archbishop of Mexico, addressed the Holy Father at the beginning of the Eucharist celebration held yesterday at the Basilica of Guadalupe.
The Archbishop expressed in the name of all present the joy and gratitude that filled everyone for the presence of His Holiness. He specially thanked the Pope for the Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in America, "which is the result of our Ecclesial communion and the Collegial affection of the bishops of the American continent with the Successor to Saint Peter. This is the fruit of the encounter of shepherds of this continent with the Risen Lord, who guides to conversion, communion and solidarity in the American Continent."
Speaking on the challenges of the New Evangelization, Cardinal Rivera highlighted the fundamental role of Mary, as she had had a fundamental presence when America was first evangelized. The "Mother of the most true God for whom we live has guided our missionaries, the first fathers of our faith," said the Mexican Cardinal. "And she guides the ship which is the Church in the midst of storms. Through her, the American Continent still awaits the words of Peter, the Word of He in whom Peter has always trusted: 'Lord, to whom shall we go, you alone have the words of everlasting life.' She will guide all pastoral agents of America to proclaim in courage and imagination the Gospel of salvation that Your Holiness once again brings us. The Lady of Heaven will bring a new Spring time of faith and this will flourish in our continent."
ABOUT ONE MILLION PEOPLE WILL PARTICIPATE IN THE SUNDAY MASS WITH THE HOLY FATHER
MEXICO CITY, 23 (NE) Over one million people will attend the Eucharistic celebration that the Holy Father will preside this Sunday in Mexico. The entrance to the autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez will be open from the previous day at six in the afternoon, for there are many willing to spend the night there in order to get good places the following day. Also, it is estimated that there will be about 2.300 trucks that will arrive between Saturday and Sunday with pilgrims coming from different places of the country.
The State government and the law enforcing agencies of the city, together with numerous civil organizations, have organized a special operation that includes numerous security measures, such as the establishment of two contention areas, the closing of diverse arteries, the installation of phones, of stations for locating people, Red Cross facilities, and even the presence of epidemic brigades.
The Holy Father will arrive to the circuit on Sunday at 9:00am in the morning on a helicopter. Upon descending, he will go through the circuit in the Popemobile and at 10:30 will ascend through the elevator to the atrium from which he will preside the Holy Mass.
IMPRESSIVE WELCOME TO POPE JOHN PAUL II IN MEXICO
MEXICO CITY, 22 (N3) With immense happiness and accompanied with the singing of "mariachis" and the applause of the Mexican people, Pope John Paul II was welcomed yesterday at the Benito Juarez International Airport of Mexico City. After greeting President Ernesto Zedillo and the First Lady, the Holy Father went towards the presidential hangar in order to begin the welcoming ceremony of his apostolic pilgrimage. There, President Zedillo expressed to the Pope that the Mexican people rejoiced and felt honored with his presence.
The Holy Father made his address expressing the "great joy to find myself, once again, in this blessed land, where our Holy Mary of Guadalupe is worshiped as a lovely Mother. I come as a Jesus Christ's Apostol and as Saint Peter's successor to remark the faith of my brothers and sisters. I come to pray, and to announce the Word of God to all men and women. In this ocassion, this city will be the place of a holy and historical meeting: I will join to the bishops of all the American Continent for presenting tomorrow, at the Basilica de Guadalupe, the fruits of the Synod that began 1 year ago at Rome."
"The Bishops of America marked the principal points of the future pastoral action that, form the faith we share, and the desire of an answer to the Godīs Salvation Plan and the dignity of the human beings in the context of societies who can share justice, reconciliation and openness in the technical process that needs a moral progress."
The Holy Father also mentioned the fidelity of Mexican people, saying: "ever since the Mexican people welcomed me 20 years ago with open arms and full of hope, they have accompanied me along many of my journeys. I can still hear the sound of their greetings in my ears: Mexico, always loyal, always faithful, always present!"
Afterwards the Pope made a significant description of Mexican identity, saying it was a nation of deep Catholic roots, "a country where the catholic faith served usefully in the blending of the old ethnical and antagonistic plurality into a unity of brotherhood and destiny." This foundation is so important that "it is not possible to comprehend Mexico without the faith that the first 12 Franciscans brought from Spain and that was strengthened by Dominicans, Jesuits, Augustinians and other preachers of Christ's word of salvation."
Also in his speech, the Successor of Peter pointed out: "I come to you, Mexicans of different social classes and conditions, and to you brothers of this American Continent, in order to greet you in the name of Christ. Together with my brother bishops of Mexico and of all over America I come to kneel before the mantle of the Blessed Juan Diego." And precisely while facing the Virgin of Tepeyac the Supreme Pontiff requested "at the end of a fertile and tormented millennium, that the next millennium, in Mexico, in America and in the whole world, may secure roads of fraternity and peace be opened, that in Jesus Christ may find secure bases and spacious roads for progress."
Finally the Holy Father concluded his first speech in Mexican lands trusting to the maternal cares of Holy Mary of Guadalupe, "the destiny of this nation and of the whole Continent."
For more articles previous to this, see PAPAL VISIT TO THE AMERICAS
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JOHN PAUL II's FAREWELL TOUR TO THE AMERICAS