(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Tuesday visited the cathedral of Morelia, capital of Mexico’s Michoacán state, reminding hundreds of children that to be good Christians they must love God above all else but also love their neighbours as themselves.
The 17th century cathedral, built in the characteristic local pink stone with twin bell towers, was packed with cheering children as the Pope arrived on his way to a meeting with young people later in the afternoon.
Pope Francis met in the sacristy with a group of university rectors and leaders of other Christian communities present in Mexico, before laying a large bunch of flowers on the altar. Then, to the delight of those present, he took the microphone and spoke off the cuff, reminding them to pray for their parents and grandparents, their teachers and all those people who take care of them.
The Pope concluded by blessing the children and reminding them to pray for him too. He then made his way out through the central nave of the cathedral, stopping to greet some of the boys and girls individually.
Among those whom the Pope stopped to talk to for a few moments was a seven year old girl called Lupita who was miraculously cured of a life threatening brain malfunction when she was just three months old. The miracle was attributed to the intercession of Blessed José Sanchez Del Rio, a young boy who joined the ‘Cristero’ movement to defend the Church during Mexico’s civil war in the early 20th century.
The 14 year old was put to death by government officials in 1928 because he refused to renounce his Catholic faith. He was recognized as a martyr on June 22nd 2004 by Pope John Paul II and was beatified on November 20th 2005 in Mexico. Last month Pope Francis approved the miracle, allowing for his canonization to take place later this year.