2012-03-26 Vatican RadioFollowing the Vespers in the Cathedral of Leon in central Mexico Sunday evening, Pope Benedict returned to the papal residence of Miraflores where he was greeted and cheered by hundreds of young people and faithful of all ages, waving colourful Mexican and Vatican flags and dancing to the vibrant music of a big group of traditionally dressed Mexican musicians – the so-called Mariachi folklore singers who serenaded the Pope in true Mexican style!
Pope Benedict unexpectedly appeared outside the residence at one point wearing a Mexican sombrero to thank the pilgrims for their warm welcome. Speaking in Italian with the Spanish translation offered by the Holy See’s Nuncio to Mexico, the Pope said, “Dear friends, muchos gracias for the enthusiasm!” “I am happy to be with you. I’ve made many trips but I’ve never been received with so much enthusiasm!”
“I will take with me in my heart these impressions of these days. Mexico will always be in my heart. And I can say that for years, I have been praying every day for Mexico – but in the future, I will pray a lot more!”
“Now I understand,” continued Pope Benedict, “why Pope John Paul II said ‘I feel like a Mexican pope!”
After a long day full of events, the Pope told the crowds he was prepared to retire for the night and would take his leave of them for the time being. “Dear friends,” he said, “even though I am very happy for this encounter, you will forgive me if I leave you because tomorrow will be a busy day.”
The Holy Father, who leaves Mexico Monday for Cuba, then bestowed his apostolic blessing on the crowds and returned inside the Miraflora residence for the night.
Listen to this report by Tracey McClure: