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Home | Tag Archives: when is the pope coming?

Tag Archives: when is the pope coming?

Rosa Guerrero Elementary kindergartner to help welcome Pope Francis

When Pope Francis arrives at Abraham Gonzalez International Airport for his historic visit to Juárez on Feb. 17, a little bit of EPISD will be there to greet him.

Rosa Guerrero Elementary School kindergartner Iván Andrés Ávila will be among the 100 special-needs children and young adults who have been selected to welcome the pontiff during his visit to the Borderland.

“The date is really meaningful because it is one day after Iván’s birthday,” said his mother Astrid Ávila. “I know my son is a miracle, so for me this represents that I am doing a good job as a mother. Iván is my life.”

Iván, 5, has brittle bone disease and his bones can break easily. He also has some brain damage from a lack of oxygen during birth, his mother said.

Iván’s physical limitations do not dampen his spirit. His small brown eyes light up with all the attention he’s receiving as news of his visit with the pope grows.

“When he came home from the hospital he didn’t laugh or have facial expressions, but now he cracks up laughing,” Ávila said. “Those are beautiful things that he has learned here with his classmates.”

Iván and his mom will arrive at the Universidad Tecnológica de Juárez early Feb. 17 to be escorted to the airport for Pope Francis’ arrival and his welcoming reception. Initially, Iván was offered a ticket to the mass but had to decline because of his delicate condition.

He then was invited to meet the pope in a more private and controlled area.

“My greatest wish is for Iván to receive a blessing from Pope Francis,” Avila said. “Getting the blessing from the pope would be a sign that things are going well with Iván … that I’m doing what I need to be doing to be a good mother to him.”

The staff at Guerrero said teachers and students at the campus have slowly learned about Iván’s participation in the papal visit, and share in the excitement of the news.

“Iván is a blessing … a child that is loved by everyone at Guerrero,” said Principal Jill Crossley. “For him to be present at this historic event is just wonderful. He represents the hope and the perseverance of every child, not just at Guerrero, but throughout EPISD.”

Iván is enrolled in the Preschool Program for Children with Disabilities and is non-verbal. However, he is adept at communicating with others and has flourished in the few years he’s attended Guerrero.

“For a student like Ivan who everyday has challenges and struggles that the rest of us can’t even imagine, this honor of going to see the pope is in my opinion so well deserved,” Crossley said. “It touches all of us because we see the hard work of his teacher and his mother. He is one loved child.”

To read all our coverage on the Pope’s Visit to Juarez, click HERE.

Author/Video: El Paso ISD

Juarez Con Francisco youth group wants city to prepare spiritually for Pope’s upcoming visit

CD.JUAREZ, MEXICO – In anticipation of Pope Francis’ visit to Cd. Juárez, one group of young adults hopes to prepare the city’s youth spiritually before the pontiff’s arrival.

The group, “Juárez con Francisco,” comprises of about 30 young adults from various parishes of the Juárez Diocese.  Through the use of Facebook and Instagram the group spreads the news of their upcoming activities and their actions.

Their goal – bring the Juárez youth and the city of Juárez closer to the Catholic Church.

On Saturday, during the Catholic Church’s Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the group began their journey toward their goal by dressing up as superheroes and visiting sick children and their families at the General Hospital in the 35th zone, located at Valentín Fuentes Avenue.

“We want to prepare the city for the Pope’s arrival,” said Jesus Delmar, 22. Delmar is a member of Juárez con Francisco “We want to do a lot of activities with the Juárez youth, to awaken their interest to live by their actions and not their words alone. We want to leave an impression in the city.”

The visit to the hospital is just one of several activities the group will complete prior to the Holy Father’s visit. Other activities that will follow will include giving food to the hungry and visiting the oppressed.

Juárez con Francisco will be presenting the results of their work to the Bishop of Juárez, Jose Guadalupe Torres Campos, in the hopes that they will be invited to see the Pope.

While being able to see the Pontiff and attend his mass would be a great honor – members of the Juárez con Francisco stressed that their actions are mainly to increase awareness and interest in the Catholic Church.

“Our objective is first to invite everyone we can – the youth, the disabled and all those that really need it – to come and listen to God’s message in the Gospel,” said 16-year-old Verónica Ibáñez Rubio. “We are trying to live by Christ’s example so that those that don’t know him yet will know him, so that when the Pope arrives, they aren’t vain and simply think that ‘just a man’ came into Juárez. We are also trying to prepare ourselves spiritually and bring as many as we can closer to the church.”

Gabriela Vera Macias, 9, talks to a member from Juarez con Francisco dressed in a bear costume. Macias requested a face painting during the group's visit to Clnica 35 on Saturday.
Gabriela Vera Macias, 9, talks to a member from Juarez con Francisco dressed in a bear costume. Macias requested a face painting during the group’s visit to Clnica 35 on Saturday.

During their visit at the hospital, the group told a modernized tale of the prodigal son with puppets, and led the children in fun-filled spiritual songs. In addition, members provided face paintings to the young patients and a piñata.

Daniela Reyes, 10, smiled and laughed as members of Juárez con Francisco sang and joked with the children.

“Está muy padre,” I think it’s really cool.  Reyes said in Spanish when asked of the group’s visit.

Then 10-year-old was admitted into the hospital last week after her family noticed her left arm was swollen, said Reyes’ aunt Madel Rosario Blanco.

Blanco added that the visit from Juárez con Francisco was welcomed. “It gives her a chance to have a bit of fun.” Blanco said.

While the group led the patients and their families in sing along, 2-year-old Tiffany Cordero Ramirez showed her mother, Daisy Ramirez, how well she could blow on a party favor whistle.

Tiffany Cordero Ramirez, 2, blows on a party favor whistle while she and her mother, Daisy Ramirez, listen to a song that the youth group Juarez con Francisco is playing.
Tiffany Cordero Ramirez, 2, blows on a party favor whistle while she and her mother, Daisy Ramirez, listen to a song that the youth group Juarez con Francisco is playing.

“I’m really glad the nurses told us to come out here and brought the children out,” she said. “I mean it gives those of us (patients and parents) a chance to get out and have a bit of fun, instead of being enclosed in the hospital.”

As the group joked and spoke with patients, several of them asked the patients what eternal love and forgiveness meant to them. The interviews were filmed and will be available in the coming days in the group’s Facebook and Instagram pages.

“With this being the year of mercy for the Catholic Church – we wanted to ask the kids what they thought the meaning of love and forgiveness is to them.” Delmar said. “It is in kind with the Pope’s message of forgiveness and love.”

The El Paso and Juárez Dioceses released Pope Francis’ itinerary for his visit on Feb. 17 on their websites. According to the Juárez and El Paso Diocese, the pontiff will arrive in Juárez at 10:30 a.m., on Feb. 17.  A 2-hour mass is scheduled for 4 p.m. at El Punto, which is near Benito Juárez Stadium.

Admission to the Mass is free, but attendees must have a ticket to enter. About 220,000 tickets for the mass will be distributed by the Diocese of Juárez to their various parishes according to the Dioceses of Juárez’s website. Officials with the El Paso Diocese stated on their website that tickets will also be made available to parishes in the El Paso, however the details of how these tickets will be distributed is still unknown.

“The city of Juárez has garnered a bad reputation and a bad name and we want to change that,” Delmar said. “And we want to do that with the help of all those that are willing to assist us.”

For more information on Juárez con Francisco visit their website at or follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

For more information on the Pope’s visit the either the El Paso Diocese or the Juárez Diocese websites at and http://franciscoenJuá

Author/Photographer: Alexandra Hinojosa

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