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Mexico Visit 1999

Welcoming message of Cardinal Rivera to John Paul II
Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez
Sunday, January 24th, 1999

Most Holy Father:

On this Sunday, day of Our Lord, a day of faith and hope; joy and commitment, we acknowledge and are deeply grateful for the affection you have kept and shown for the people of Mexico. When, 20 years ago, your Holiness first kissed our blessed soil, multitudes broke out into the streets to see you pass by, to greet you and sing to you and , yes, to shout good things to you. Our love for you overflowed: all of us wanted to be with you, look at you interminably and intensely. And, sometimes, with loving irreverence, the shouts and song made themselves be felt so that you would step out to your window, during day or night, preventing you from getting your needed rest. Then, Your Holiness said those words: ¨ Mexicans shout a lot¨, and , when you are present at great gatherings around the world and in Rome, you listen to a group of people who are singing and shouting, interrupt your speech and simply say ¨Mexicans¨.

Mexico loves you, Holy father, and needs your illuminating word. That is why on that occasion, and during your second and third visits, people flocked to the streets to acclaim you; they would spend entire nights out in the fields in order to make their feelings known to you. ¨Mexico always faithful!¨ you told us, and all of us were gladdened. Twenty years have passed since your first visit. Later, you returned and the people were awaken from their apathy; our indigenous brothers also felt the magic of your mysterious dignity; that of the Vicar of Christ on Earth. Today, however, the Mexican nation is undergoing profound transformations and is confronting gigantic challenges. It is undergoing difficult situations; we have been deceived; and poverty has taken root in our land; violence and lifestyles foreign to our idiosyncrasy are threatening us. Many years have passed since your last visit, and our nation, paradoxically, has achieved significant progress in democracy, education, healthcare, in the economy, in communications and other important areas of national life; while at the same time that international phenomenon which is both inspiring and challenging and is called ¨globalization¨, has entered our land. We have fallen prey to the inhuman interests of international capital flows and to our own internal dishonesty. People suffer and grow desperate because they cannot see an immediate solution to their calls for justice, food, healthcare and justly paid work. Peace seems not to be at hand, and, at times, we feel like a puppet manipulated not by visible strings, but by remote levers.

This is the birthing, Holy Father, of a New Mexico. A Mexico with a future, a Mexico who accepts its responsibility within the family of nations and in the comforting communion of the particular churches of the continent; united to whom presides over us in charity. This nation, Holy Father, knows how to wait even though it may be submerged in pain. It has a marvelous faith which sustains it in the midst of the storm, and keeps the love which the Holy Spirit has showered over its heart. And, it knows how to manifest this heroically in tragedy and pain. This noble nation of Mexico, Holy Father, wants to listen from your lips the song of hope, it wants to listen to words of life and longs for the healing of the Divine Doctor, as painful as this may be. Our poor and miserable brothers, from all the corners of this land await a loving word from the Universal Shepherd.

Most Holy Father, in the midst of its weakness and wounded by its sin, Mexico continues being faithful to its Catholic religion; it continues being faithful to Christ, Light of all peoples; it continues being faithful to that Great Light which, 500 years ago, was brought here by the first missionaries and which continues to be taught by thousands of humble cathechists, in families and by the youth which is new blood in our Church. Here is this country, with the strength of its Catholicism and with its heart open to better times; singing and shouting its faith. Yes, God and Blessed Mary of Guadalupe give it strength and endurance to rise from its own ashes, as a new Phoenix.

Accept, Oh, Holiness, the joy and faith of our people who love you intimately and with fervor. Embrace in your heart of a Father this joy and anguish which bring us closer to the joy and sadness of the Universal Shepherd of our Church, at the end of this millenium. And, we long, Holy father, for your visit to shower us with a new life, a hope which does not disappoint, a faith which transforms, a love which renews all. And, a long Apostolic Blessing .





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