By Associated Press - Tuesday, February 16, 2016

MEXICO CITY (AP) - The Latest on Pope Francis’ visit to Mexico (all times local):

9:50 a.m.

Pope Francis has arrived at a stadium full of cheering Mexican priests, nuns and seminarians for a Mass in the heart of Mexico’s drug-trafficking country.

Francis arrived Tuesday in Morelia in the penultimate day of his Mexico pilgrimage. After his plane landed, he cruised through town on a (5-mile) 9-kilometer drive in his popemobile. Thousands of people along the motorcade route waved Vatican flags and cheered wildly as he passed by.

Francis is expected to offer words of encouragement to Mexican clergy as they try to minister to a country wracked by drug violence and corruption.

The visit to Morelia is also tangible sign of Francis’ respect for the city’s archbishop, Alberto Suarez Inda, whom Francis made a cardinal last year. In a country where the church hierarchy is closely tied to political and financial elite, Suarez Inda has echoed the pope’s admonition that “pastors should not be bureaucrats and we bishops should not have the mentality or attitude of princes.”


8:00 a.m.

Pope Francis is on his way to the heart of Mexico’s drug-trafficking country for meetings with young people. He’s holding them up as the hope for a better future for a country wracked by the violence and gang warfare of the drug trade.

Francis has just taken off from Mexico City in a jetliner for his visit to Morelia, the capital of Michoacan state.

The trip will give him a chance to send a message about his vision for the future of the Mexican church and some are expecting a tough message like the one he delivered Satureday to the country’s bishops.

In Morelia, 20-year-old seminarian Uriel Perez says that message was meant for the rest of the church too. He says “the pope is demanding and wants us to be prepared and in the streets, shoulder to shoulder with our flock.”

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