February 2016: Meeting with the Patriarch of Moscow and the trip to Mexico

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The month of February was one of the most crowded times during the Jubilee. Thousands of people fled to the Roman streets to receive the relics of two famous saints who devoted much time in the confessional hearing confession, St. Leopold MandiÄ? and Padre Pio.
The relics were exposed for several days in St. Peter's Basilica, and even Pope Francis went to pray before them.

In February, the pope made perhaps the most important trip of the year: a visit to Mexico, with a stop in Cuba.

'It's a hard journey, with many commitments, but a highly desired one. For my brother Kiril, for me and for the Mexican people.'
At the airport in Havana, a pope met with Patriarch of Moscow for the first time in history.
They greeted each other with three kisses, as mandated by Russian tradition.

'I am delighted to see you.�
'Thanks brother.�
'Nevertheless, we have the opportunity to talk heart to heart.�
'That's what I want to do. We are brothers, we have the same baptism, we are bishops.�

They met for two hours behind closed doors and then signed a historic joint declaration.

'The result of the conversation allows me to ensure that currently the two Churches can cooperate together to defend Christians around the world.�
'We speak clearly without mumbling and I confess that I felt the consolation of the Spirit in this dialogue.�

With their signatures, they also sealed the end of nearly a thousand years of mutual distrust.
A few hours later, the pope arrived in Mexico, where he was well-received.

The trip lasted nearly six days, and the first major event was a Mass at the Basilica of Guadalupe, before about 35,000 people.
'Be my ambassador, she says to us, giving food to the hungry, drink to those who thirst, a refuge to those in need, clothe the naked and visit the sick. Come to the aid of your neighbor, forgive whoever has offended you, console the grieving, be patient with others, and above all beseech and pray to God.�

After Mass, the pope stopped before the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe and prayed silently for nearly 30 minutes at the landmark.
The next day he visited Ecatepec, one of the most violent municipalities in the State of Mexico.

'... Where there will be no need to emigrate in order to dream, no need to be exploited in order to work, no need to make the despair and poverty of many the opportunism of a few, a land that will not have to mourn men and women, young people and children who are destroyed at the hands of the dealers of death.'

From Mexico City he traveled to Chiapas, to be close to the indigenous, who are considered the least of the country. That's why he asked them for forgiveness.

'Holy Father, even though we suffer great injustices, we firmly believe in God.'

'I'm sorry. Todayâ??s world, ravaged as it is by a throwaway culture, needs you! The youth of today are exposed to a culture that seeks to suppress all cultural heritage and features in pursuit of a homogenized world, they need to cling to the wisdom of their elders!'

In Chiapas, he also met with thousands of families. Some celebrated 50 years of marriage by once again exchanging their vows, but this time with the pope as a witness.
'I prefer families who are wrinkled, injured, and scarred, yet they continue to walk forward because those wounds, those scars, those wrinkles are the result of the faithfulness of love that was not always easy. Love is not easy. It is not easy, no. But it is one of the most beautiful things that a man and a woman can give each other. True love, for life.'

The next day he was in Morelia, Michoacan, in the area that has been linked to drug trafficking and violence.
'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.''

The crowded meeting was held in a stadium with thousands of young people. However, one young man could not control his excitement and caused this scene.
'Don't be selfish!'

The last day of Pope Francis' trip was in Ciudad Juarez, where he visited one of the most dangerous prisons in the country to personally greet dozens of inmates and prisoners.
'Holy Father, thank you for thinking of us. For being so modest and humble.'

'It is within a societyâ??s capacity to include the poor, the sick and imprisoned, so that we see its ability to heal their wounds and make them builders of a peaceful coexistence.'

He then celebrated Mass on the border between Mexico and the United States. On the Mexican side, more than 200,000 pilgrims attended and on the U.S. side, there were about 50,000 pilgrims in El Paso.

The pope stopped before this cross that could be seen from both countries, to pray for all the forced migrants who have died trying to cross the border.

He recalled that migration has become a global phenomenon and a humanitarian crisis that can not be measured solely in numbers.
'This crisis which can be measured in numbers and statistics, we instead want to measure with names, stories, families.'

Thousands of people waited for him at the airport, but it was this little Mexican who won the last greeting from Pope Francis.

The main state visit the pope received in February was from the first Argentine President, Mauricio Macri.
It was a politically correct meeting, and one that was almost a bit cold because Pope Francis wanted to show the normalization of relations with the country, which until then were a little exaggerated.
The pope made one casual, joking comment to the president's wife, when he reminded her of the absence of a small, but important part of the family: her daughter.
'You're missing something in your arms.'

- PR

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