Vatican City, 26 March 2012 (VIS) - This morning, the Holy Father took his leave of Mexico, arriving at the airport of Leon at 9 a.m. where the departure ceremony took place.
Addressing Felipe de Jesus Calderon Hinojosa, president of Mexico, and other civil and religious authorities who were there to greet him, the Pope noted that his departure was not the end of his affection and closeness to a country so dear to him.
"Recognising the faith in Jesus Christ which I have felt resounding in your hearts, and your affectionate devotion to His Mother, invoked here with beautiful titles like Our Lady of Guadalupe and Our Lady of Light, a light I have seen reflected in your faces, I wish to reiterate clearly and with vigour a plea to the Mexican people to remain faithful to yourselves, not to let yourselves be intimidated by the power of evil, but to be valiant and to work to ensure that the sap of your Christian roots may nourish your present and your future.
"I have also seen for myself expressions of concern for various aspects of the life in this beloved country, some more recent and others long standing, which continue to cause such great divisions in society. I take them with me as well, as I share in the joys and the suffering of my Mexican brothers and sisters, so as to place them in prayer at the foot of the Cross, in the heart of Christ, out of which flowed the blood and water of redemption.
"In these circumstances, I strongly urge Mexican Catholics, and all men and women of good will, not to yield to a utilitarian mentality which always finishes by sacrificing the weakest and most defenceless. I invite you to a common effort so that society can be renewed from the ground up, in order to attain a life of dignity, justice and peace for everyone. For Catholics, this contribution to the common good is also a requirement of that essential dimension of the Gospel which is the human promotion and a supreme expression of charity. For this reason, the Church exhorts all her faithful to be good citizens, conscious of their responsibilities and concerned for the good of others, of everyone, both in their personal lives and throughout the various sectors of society.
"Dear Mexican friends, I say to you “Adios!” in the traditional sense of this fine Hispanic expression: remain with God! Yes, “Adios!”; for ever in the love of Christ, in which we meet each other and will again meet with one another. May the Lord bless you and may Mary Most Holy protect you!"
Having concluded his remarks the Holy Father boarded his flight for Cuba where he is scheduled to arrive at 2 p.m. local time (9 p.m. in Rome).