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"FOLLOW ME AND I WILL MAKE YOU FISHERS OF MEN"   (MT 4:19).
---Pope John Paul II
Homily from the Hermanos Rodriguez Racetrack

MEXICO CITY - (EWTNews) -- On a beautiful winter day, millions gather to celebrate the Solemn Mass with Pope John Paul II at Hermanos Rodriguez Racetrack in Mexico City. This is the second Mass that the Pontiff has celebrated since his arrival to Mexico on Friday.

The altar was decorated rather simply. A white background with a yellow border. An image of Our Lady of Guadalupe hung over the back of the altar. The racetrack filled with millions of pilgrims, who have traveled from all parts of Mexico to participate in the Papal Mass with the Pontiff. Even the actual track where the Pope-mobile traveled was lined with yellow and red roses, which was made by different colors of sand that were poured along the track.

In his opening remarks, Cardinal Rivera recounted the love that the Mexican people have for the Holy Father. "Millions of people gathered in the streets to greet you." "Mexico loves you Holy Father!"

In his homily, the Holy Father stated, "This raceway, transformed today into a great church, resounds with the words with which Jesus began his preaching: ‘Repent, for the Reign of Heaven is at hand’ (Mt 4:17). Since its beginnings, the Church has faithfully handed on this message of conversion so that all of us might lead a purer life, according to the spirit of the Gospel. The call to conversion becomes more acute in these moments of preparation for the Great Jubilee, when we will commemorate the mystery of the Incarnation of God’s Son 2000 years ago."

Pope John Paul II urged the Mexican people as Jesus stated in the Gospel of Matthew, "Follow me and I will make you fishers of men" (Mt 4:19). The Holy Father explained, "These words of Jesus that we have heard are repeated throughout history and in every corner of the earth. Following the Master, I offer the same invitation to all, especially to the young, to follow Christ. Dear young people, one day Jesus called Simon Peter and Andrew. They were fishermen and they left their nets to follow Him. Christ is surely calling some of you to follow Him and to give yourselves totally to the cause of the Gospel. Don’t be afraid to receive the Lord’s invitation! Don’t let the nets keep you from following Jesus’ way! Be generous, don’t fail to respond to the Master who calls. Follow Him to become, like the apostles, fishers of men."

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SEA OF PEOPLE ATTEND SOLEMN MASS

MEXICO CITY (EWTNews) ---Pope John Paul II celebrated the Solemn Mass on Sunday, January 24, 1999 at the Autrodromo Hermanos Rodriguez Racetrack to a record crowd.

The Holy Father arrived by helicopter early this morning and was then transported to the Pope-mobile where he was driven around the 2-mile racetrack to greet more than a million people. According to Mexican officials, by 7:00PM on Saturday night the racetrack had to be closed because a record crowd of 800,000 had already arrived and there was not enough staff to properly handle the masses..

Millions of people camped out in the streets of Mexico City last night in preparation for the Solemn Mass with the Pontiff. Fr. Dan Gagnon of the Diocese of Mexico City stated, "It was a sea of people as we drove to the racetrack this morning. People camping out on the streets in sleeping bags, making their breakfasts by camping stoves. I have never seen anything like it."

The Holy Father is expected to visit the sick and bless 3 young children who have AIDS at the Adolfo Lopez Mateos Hospital this evening. The Pope has always had a special place in his heart for the sick. When the Holy Father was installed as Pope in 1978, he dedicated his Pontificate to the suffering and sick. When Pope John Paul visited Mexico twenty years ago, he visited a hospital for the sick. According to reports, he blessed a little boy who did not have any legs. Today, that same man is a Roman Catholic priest who states that his vocation is due to the blessing by the Pontiff.