Pope Francis started his visit to Michoacan, in Morelia where he celebrated a Mass at Venustiano de Carranza stadium. Thousands of religious people, seminarians, priests and pilgrims attended the ceremony.
The western state of Michoacan suffers great violence due to the war against drugs. Pope Francis asked Christians to not give up and to firmly reject it at all times.
"What temptation can come to us from places often dominated by violence, corruption, drug trafficking, disregard for human dignity, and indifference in the face of suffering and vulnerability?” FLASH I think we can sum it up in a word, "resignation”. Faced with this reality, the devil can overcome us with one of his favorite weapons: resignation. 'What can I do? So it's life.'”.
The Pope added that resigning oneself means refusing to change the world for the better. He encouraged the thousands of pilgrims gathered at the arena not to be afraid of violence, even when one's life is at stake.
"A resignation which paralyzes us and prevents us not only from walking, but also from making the journey; a resignation which not only terrifies us, but which also entrenches us in our "sacristies” and false securities.”
During his homily, Pope Francis also highlighted the example of Msgr. Vasco Vázquez de Quiroga, the first bishop of Michoacan. This Spanish priest fought till the very end to improve the extreme living conditions of the 16th-century Indians that he met.
"Far from tempting him to listless resignation, their situation succeeded in kindling his faith, strengthening his compassion and inspiring him to carry out plans that were a "breath of fresh air” in the midst of so much paralyzing injustice.”
The Purhépechas Indians loved Fr. Vazquez de Quiroga so much, that they called him "Tata,” which translates to "Dad” in their language. Pope Francis celebrated Mass using de Quiroga's chalice and bishop staff.