Pope Francis hasn’t even arrived in Mexico, but already has been sporting a sombrero on the papal flight, so he ‘can start to feel Mexican,’ like his predecessors.
Mexican journalist Valentina Alazraki of “Televise,” the dean of the Holy See Press Corps, gave the first Pope from the Americas the gift to celebrate his visit to her homeland.
The sombrero, she told him, is “so you feel Mexican!” Speaking on her tradition of gifting sombreros to Popes, she noted she first gave one to John Paul II 37 years ago. Since he traveled five times to the country, she said he eventually had a collection.
Pope Benedict, she added, put on the sombrero in Guanajuato “and said he felt Mexican, so now it’s your turn.”
The Holy Father expressed his joy to embark on this journey, as he greeted the journalists with him on the papal flight as he headed toward Havana, for the brief meeting with Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill, before kicking off his Apostolic Visit to Mexico, Feb. 12 -18.
Francis also shared with the press that earlier in the week, the Mexican ‘dean’ gave him some movies starring Mexican comedian Cantinflas to ‘prepare’ him for his journey, and added they were a “good laugh.”
“My deepest desire,” the Pope expressed, “is to pause before Our Lady of Guadalupe, this mystery that is studied, and studied, and studied, and there is no human explanation.”
Even the must profound scientific studies, he pointed out, say the image is “a thing of God.”
He also reminded the journalist that this will be the last Apostolic Trip of the coordinator of papal visits, Alberto Gasparri. The Holy Father thanked him for his 47 years of service to the Vatican and told the press to anticipate a party to celebrate this on the flight back to Rome.
According to Vatican Radio, the Argentine Pontiff responded to press reports regarding a papal visit to Colombia, saying that if peace talks between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia continue to move ahead, he could visit the country in 2017.
On ZENIT’s Web page:
Full Translation of Pope’s Greetings: https://zenit.org/articles/popes-words-to-journalists-on-way-to-cuba-mexico/