"FOLLOW ME AND I WILL MAKE YOU
FISHERS OF MEN" (MT 4:19).
---Pope John Paul II
Homily from the Hermanos Rodriguez Racetrack
MEXICO CITY - (EWTNews) -- On a beautiful winter day, millions gather to celebrate the
Solemn Mass with Pope John Paul II at Hermanos Rodriguez Racetrack in Mexico City. This is
the second Mass that the Pontiff has celebrated since his arrival to Mexico on Friday.
The altar was decorated rather simply. A white background with a yellow border. An
image of Our Lady of Guadalupe hung over the back of the altar. The racetrack filled with
millions of pilgrims, who have traveled from all parts of Mexico to participate in the
Papal Mass with the Pontiff. Even the actual track where the Pope-mobile traveled was
lined with yellow and red roses, which was made by different colors of sand that were
poured along the track.
In his opening remarks, Cardinal Rivera recounted the love that the Mexican people have
for the Holy Father. "Millions of people gathered in the streets to greet you."
"Mexico loves you Holy Father!"
In his homily, the Holy Father stated, "This raceway, transformed today into a
great church, resounds with the words with which Jesus began his preaching: Repent,
for the Reign of Heaven is at hand (Mt 4:17). Since its beginnings, the Church has
faithfully handed on this message of conversion so that all of us might lead a purer life,
according to the spirit of the Gospel. The call to conversion becomes more acute in these
moments of preparation for the Great Jubilee, when we will commemorate the mystery of the
Incarnation of Gods Son 2000 years ago."
Pope John Paul II urged the Mexican people as Jesus stated in the Gospel of Matthew,
"Follow me and I will make you fishers of men" (Mt 4:19). The Holy Father
explained, "These words of Jesus that we have heard are repeated throughout history
and in every corner of the earth. Following the Master, I offer the same invitation to
all, especially to the young, to follow Christ. Dear young people, one day Jesus called
Simon Peter and Andrew. They were fishermen and they left their nets to follow Him. Christ
is surely calling some of you to follow Him and to give yourselves totally to the cause of
the Gospel. Dont be afraid to receive the Lords invitation! Dont let the
nets keep you from following Jesus way! Be generous, dont fail to respond to
the Master who calls. Follow Him to become, like the apostles, fishers of men."
SEA OF PEOPLE ATTEND SOLEMN MASS
MEXICO CITY (EWTNews) ---Pope John Paul II celebrated the Solemn Mass on Sunday,
January 24, 1999 at the Autrodromo Hermanos Rodriguez Racetrack to a record crowd.
The Holy Father arrived by helicopter early this morning and was then transported to
the Pope-mobile where he was driven around the 2-mile racetrack to greet more than a
million people. According to Mexican officials, by 7:00PM on Saturday night the racetrack
had to be closed because a record crowd of 800,000 had already arrived and there was not
enough staff to properly handle the masses..
Millions of people camped out in the streets of Mexico City last night in preparation
for the Solemn Mass with the Pontiff. Fr. Dan Gagnon of the Diocese of Mexico City stated,
"It was a sea of people as we drove to the racetrack this morning. People camping out
on the streets in sleeping bags, making their breakfasts by camping stoves. I have never
seen anything like it."
The Holy Father is expected to visit the sick and bless 3 young children who have AIDS
at the Adolfo Lopez Mateos Hospital this evening. The Pope has always had a special place
in his heart for the sick. When the Holy Father was installed as Pope in 1978, he
dedicated his Pontificate to the suffering and sick. When Pope John Paul visited Mexico
twenty years ago, he visited a hospital for the sick. According to reports, he blessed a
little boy who did not have any legs. Today, that same man is a Roman Catholic priest who
states that his vocation is due to the blessing by the Pontiff.