Vatican City, 17 February 2016 (VIS) – Pope Francis took leave of Mexico today, thanking God for granting him his visit to a country "that always surprises, for Mexico is a surprise!". He departed from the airport of Ciudad Juarez at 7 p.m. local time (3 a.m. in Rome) today, 18 February, and is expected to arrive in Rome at 3.15 p.m.
The Holy Father again gave thanks to all those who made his pilgrimage possible, including the state and local authorities and "all those anonymous helpers who quietly gave of their very best to make these days a great family celebration".
"I have felt welcomed and warmly received by the love, the celebration, the hope of this great Mexican family: thank you for having opened the doors of your lives to me, the doors of your nation", he added, then reciting the words of Octavio Paz in his poem "Hermandad":
“I am a man: I only last a brief while, and the night is vast.
But I look up: the stars are writing.
Without grasping I understand: I am also the writing
and in this very instant someone is spelling me out”.
"Taking up these beautiful words, I dare to suggest that the one who spells us out and marks out the road for us is the mysterious but real presence of God in the real flesh of all people, especially the poorest and most needy of Mexico", the Pontiff commented. "The night can seem vast and very dark, but in these days I have been able to observe that in this people there are many lights who proclaim hope; I have been able to see in many of their testimonies, in their faces, the presence of God who carries on walking in this land, guiding you, sustaining hope; many men and women, with their everyday efforts, make it possible for this Mexican society not to be left in darkness. Many men and women lining the streets as I went by, lifted up their children, showing them to me: they are the future of Mexico, let us look after them, let us love them. These children are tomorrow’s prophets, they are the sign of a new dawn. And I assure you that on some occasions, as I passed by, I felt I wanted to cry on seeing so much hope among people who suffer so much".
"May Mary, Mother of Guadalupe, continue to visit you, continue to walk on your lands – Mexico which cannot be understood without her – may she continue helping you to be missionaries and witnesses of mercy and reconciliation", he concluded. "Once again, thank you very much for this warm, so very warm, Mexican hospitality".