March 17, 2012.
) In late March, when the Pope arrives in Mexico
the country's ambassador before the Holy See
, will be at Leon's airport to welcome him. It will be a short preview of celebrations to come during the Pope's three day visit. “The Mexico of today will welcome the Pope. Benedict XVI is our Pope and we are the Mexican people of today. This is the Holy Father of our generation.
” Said Héctor Federico Ling Altamirano, Mexico's Ambassador to the Holy See.
The ambassador says, Benedict XVI
has always had an open invitation to visit Mexico. But during John Paul II's beatification ceremony, president Felipe Calderon directly invited him
, as the country dealt with its wave of violence. Felipe Calderon
Mexico's President “They need you so much, more than ever. We are suffering.”Héctor Federico Ling Altamirano
Mexico's Ambassador to the Holy See“We're hoping the message of the Holy Father is one that's filled with values and spirituality. A message that will reach everyone's conscience, because even among those criminals, there are several Catholics that can be moved.”
In recent years, there has been a decline in religious practice
among Mexican Catholics. The Ambassador says he doesn't know exactly why the Pope chose to visit Mexico, but he thinks the country's history with Catholicism definitely played a role. From 1926 to 1929, the country went through its Cristero War,
which included the direct persecution of thousands of Catholics
. Héctor Federico Ling Altamirano
Mexico's Ambassador to the Holy See“And after everything the country has been through, with so many historic moments and even religious persecutions, Mexico is still firmly Catholic.”
Mexico isn't knew to Papal visits. John Paul II
visited the country five times. He coined several phrases that Mexico still holds dear, like “Mexico always loyal.”Héctor Federico Ling Altamirano
Mexico's Ambassador to the Holy See“There are so many things John Paul II, said, like 'Mexico knows how to scream,' but then he would kindly tell the crowd, 'I love that you've come to serenade me, but please I want to go to sleep.”
It's said that even after his many trips to Mexico, John Paul II wanted to visit the country's Bajío
area, which is precisely the area Benedict XVI will visit.
Roughly 90 percent of Mexico's population is Catholic
, making it the second country with the most Catholics, after Brazil.