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On February 17, as the Pope visited the border region of El Paso-Ciudad Juárez before returning to Rome, I shot a papal mass. My goal was to concentrate on the feeling of the day and not on the man who came into town.
The Pope’s passionate appeal on behalf of migrants rounded off his six-day visit to Mexico and highlighted the plight of Central American migrants fleeing extreme violence and poverty.
Speaking in Ciudad Juárez, once the epicenter of Mexico's drug wars, the Pope condemned "today's slave drivers" for creating the conditions generating violence. Hours before he asked inmates to forgive society for pushing them into crime.
The Pope was speaking in the beleaguered state of Michoacán where a military-led offensive nearly a decade ago kicked off Mexico’s bloody drug wars. At least 28 priests have been killed since then.
The Pope is heading for Chiapas, Michoacán, and Ciudad Juárez. Local priests talk about working in places where indigenous traditions mean chickens are sacrificed in church, poor farmers ask if it's ok to grow drugs, and where cartels rule.
Government and church sources have indicated the pope will visit past and current drug war hotspots Ciudad Juarez and Michoacán state, as well as the poverty-stricken state of Chiapas where Central American migrants are facing a government crackdown.