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Pope Francis / Credit: Neneos/iStockphoto

El Paso Bishop Seitz releases statement, information on Pope’s visit to Juarez

Bishop Mark Seitz on Pope Francis’ visit to Juarez, Mexico:

I am thrilled to learn that the Holy See has chosen this very special feast day, the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas, to officially announce Pope Francis’ visit to Mexico, which will conclude with a stop to our sister city, Ciudad Juarez on Feb. 17, 2016.

I wish to express my great excitement for our brothers and sisters in Juarez to have this opportunity to welcome Pope Francis!

The Pope’s visit to Juarez will be fast, furious and faith-filled. Pope Francis will arrive at the Juarez airport at approximately 10:30 a.m MST. From there, he will travel via motorcade to Cereso prison where he will meet and pray with several inmates. The Pope’s next expected stop will be Colegio Bachilleres where he will be met by approximately 3,600 business leaders and workers.

Pope Francis will then travel to the Seminary for a private lunch and rest before celebrating Mass at 4 p.m. at El Punto, a large field near Benito Juarez Stadium. El Punto holds about 220,000 people and tickets will be provided to parishes on both sides of the border for those who want to attend Mass in Juarez.

The Pope’s travels through the city streets of Juarez will provide an estimated 50 km of opportunity for the faithful to greet His Holiness  During Mass, Pope Francis will undoubtedly call attention to many realities that are lived on both sides of our U.S. – Mexico border, particularly the plight of so many migrants and refugees fleeing violence and poverty in their home countries, in search of better lives for themselves and their children.

Pope Francis is expected to approach the U.S./Mexico divide as a symbol of the same journey taken by migrants. It will also provide him an opportunity to acknowledge the faithful on the El Paso side of the border.

I am presently in conversation with our local civic leaders about celebrating Mass with Pope Francis at the El Paso border fence along Loop 375/Cesar Chavez Highway. The details of this liturgy are still being developed.

We have created a page on our web site where details about the Mass, volunteer opportunities and information about donations will be offered. That page is www.elpasodiocese.org.

The Diocese of El Paso is also providing a phone line for those interested in getting more information about our local events. That number is 915-872-7475.

We have a short window of time to prepare for the Pope’s visit, and I would like to thank the City of El Paso and the Catholics of our diocese for their collaboration, as we prepare for what will undoubtedly be a historic and joyous moment for our city, for our faith community, and for our countries.

Viva Papa Francisco!

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