Mexico Visit 1999
Speech by Cardinal Rivera to His Holines Pope John Paul II
[text provided by Archdiocese of Mexico]
Twenty years ago you began your pontificate as missionary of the Word and as a
wandering messenger for peace in this Mexican soil.
Since then Your Holiness stamped specific characteristics to the fundamental role of
the successor of St. Peter, like that of comforting all peoples throughout the Earth, and
opening the hearts of the multitudes who are thirsty for a Word, to believe in peace, in
liberty, in justice of respect to our basic human rights and above all, of loving charity.
The Papacy must have a universal geography, you wrote on a certain occasion. And now,
after walking all latitudes of the world and after having absorbed all geographies, you
return to this land with a heart full of love for all mankind. Today you see united, Holy
Father, two mysterious facts: The Holy Father comes to Guadalupe and also The Americas,
through its bishops, comes to kneel before Jesus, covered all by the Indian complexion of
the Virgin of Tepeyac. The Americas and The Pope under the ever sweet and everlasting gaze
of this Queen of Mexico and Empress of the Americas!
Twenty years ago, your Holiness, fell in love with her, and Mary has guided you to
cover all fields of the world and to everywhere plant the face of God.
Man and his life, the family and the plight of the most needy and unprotected, youth,
especially those who are at great risk, have been only some the topics and ideas of your
pontificate. Your words and the echoes of them have reached all the confines of this
earth. And today we are very happy and grateful for your presence among us, because from
your pain, tiredness and your cross you want to give us, your brothers and children in the
Episcopate, personally the Apostolic Exhortation ¨Ecclesia in America¨ which is the
result of our Ecclesial communion and the Collegial affection of the Bishops of the
Americas with the Successor to St. Peter. This is the fruit of the encounter of the
shepperds of this Continent with the Risen Lord, Who guides to conversion, communion and
solidarity in the Americas. And you give it to us in this beloved Bassilica, in this
moment which is centeral to this whole continent.
Holy Father, Maria of Guadalupe and Blessed Juan Diego know what it means to be in
missions, since they were the principal missionaries through whom all inhabitants of these
lands received the faith in Jesus Christ.
In this absurd moment of the world, in this ¨today¨ full of injustice and lack of
hope, when the Americas which is ¨The Continent of Hope¨ is being torn apart by violence
and corruptioon and we feel anguish, I sense the sound in this place her voice emanating
from her lips of roses: ¨Am I not here, who have the honor of being your Mother? Are you
not by my shadow, under my protection? Am I not the cause of your joy? Are you not under
my mantle in my loving arms?¨And all of us, Your Holiness understand that Mary is with us
and we will leave this place with the freshmess of Her words in our hearts. The ¨Mother
of the Most True God for whom we live¨ has guided our missionaries, the first fathers of
our faith; as she guides the ship which is the Church in the midsts of storms; through
Her, the Americas are today awaiting the words of Peter, the Word of He in whom Peter has
always trusted: ¨Lord, to whom shall we go, You alone have the words of everlasting
life¨. She will guide all pastoral agents of the Americas to proclaim in courage and
imagination the Gospel of salvation which Your Holines once again brings us. The Lady of
Heaven will bring a new springtime of faith and this will flourish in our Continent. A new
millenium is born! We reafirm our faith in Christ, hope of the Americas!
Most Blessed Father: a profound joy fills us and in this joy we put our hearts in your
heart; our American geography in the immense fields of love of the Pope. All together we
thank you for your presence here at Tepeyac and we ask that you continue to keep in your
heart, the hands, the mantle, the beautiful face of ¨ La Morenita¨ and the True Son of
Justice whom she carries in Her womb His body and also carries with Her the faith and
allegiance that this Lady has brought to us who are ¨ the representatives of our Lord¨.