MEXICO CITY, AUG. 24, 2011 ( The only first class relic of Blessed John Paul II is beginning a five-month tour through Mexico, being welcomed with hope that the prayers of the Polish Pontiff can bring peace to the country plagued by drug violence.

The presence of the relic, which will be taken to all the dioceses of Mexico through the month of December, has aroused great expectation throughout the country.

Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, archbishop primate of Mexico, invited all the archdiocese's faithful to venerate the relic, which was brought from Rome and which will be in the Basilica of Guadalupe until Sunday, and in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Mexico City from Sept. 5-8.

Cardinal Rivera Carrera noted the opportunity to solicit the mediation of Blessed John Paul II for the return of a climate of peace, fraternity and concord in Mexico.

Mexico is the first country to receive the relic -- a sample of blood -- the only existing first degree relic of the Pope, since John Paul II's body was placed in a sarcophagus immediately after his death, with no other relic taken from his body.

This relic of Blessed John Paul II, and the wax image which was made for this occasion, will go to 90 dioceses of the Mexican republic before the relic is returned to Vatican City.

"It is an honor for the primate archdiocese of Mexico to receive this relic, both because of its enormous spiritual significance as well as the great affection that John Paul II always had for our homeland," said Cardinal Rivera Carrera.

Blessed John Paul II visited Mexico on five occasions, the last to canonize Juan Diego, the visionary of the apparitions of the Virgin of Guadalupe in 1531.