Mexicans greeted Pope Francis as he arrived on Sunday for his six-day trip in Ecatepec, one of Mexico City’s more violent and dangerous suburbs.

The pope will hold one of the biggest mass ceremonies at the Study Center of Ecatepec. The city’s crime situation was the first issue to address by the Pope by speaking against drug trades and the highest murder rate.

Some 400,000 people were estimated to be at the Mass site, yet 1.6 million more were present to welcome Pope Francis in his visit to Mexico City. The love for Francis appears clear by the fact many people slept inside the university overnight to secure themselves a spot. According to Reuters, one woman said she had traveled 20 hours by bus from Yucatan, carrying a small child.

Credit: NBC News/Pope Francis Sombrero Alessandro Di Meo / Pool via AP
Credit: NBC News/Pope Francis Sombrero Alessandro Di Meo/Pool via AP

Ecatepec, a city under gang control, experiencing regular murders and kidnappings was the Pope’s first stop in order to hold mass and address this pressing matter. However, Francis criticized the temptations of wealth, vanity, and pride. “They will lock us into a cycle of destruction and sin,” Pope Francis said.

“On this festive day, we can celebrate how good the Lord has been to us. Let us give thanks fro this opportunity to be together, to present to our Good Father the first-fruits of our children, our grandchildren, of our dreams and our plans,” said Pope Francis as he continued the Mass ceremony.

Hundreds of thousands of people gathered at the Ecatepec Study Center for Mass where Pope Francis invited faithful people to help make their country better, while not forgetting their origins. He’s also urging Mexicans to resist the devil and the temptations of wealth and corruption. After the Mass, the pope will have lunch at the Diocesan Seminary and then a helicopter ride will get pope Francis back to Mexico City.

The pope continued the Mass by saying that the three temptations “seek to destroy what we have been called to be,” and also criticized the corruption the city of Ecatepec is under. However, the pontiff gave inspiring words to the people of Mexico as well, he said to the people to make their country “a land of opportunities”.

Pope Francis’ words had a very deep impact on Ecatepec’s people as they chanted his name vigorously on the streets. The pontiff also warned the Mexican people from dialoguing with the evil, due to crime’s heavy influence on society’s different aspects.

Source: The LA Times