Latin America

The Pope's trip: a before and after in Peru's history

Omnes-February 2, 2018-Reading time: 3 minutes

TEXT -  Luis Gaspar, Lima

At 4:35 p.m. local time on the 18th, the plane that brought Pope Francis from Iquique (Chile) to our country landed. After two hours of travel, the Holy Father stepped on Peruvian soil for the first time in the midst of a warm welcome by the Peruvian authorities. He was received by the Archbishop of Lima and Primate of Peru, Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani; the President of the Republic, Pedro Pablo Kuzcinsky, and the First Lady, Nancy Lange.

Throughout his journey from the airport to the Nunciature, the Pope was never alone, in a closed car or in a popemobile, the warmth of the people was constant. At the Nunciature, fifteen thousand young volunteers of the so-called Pope's Guard were waiting for him. "the soul of this visit". "I would like to give all of you and your families, those you have in your hearts, the blessing. Let us pray together to Our Lady, were the first words of His Holiness in Lima. After this, he was expected to return to the balcony of the residence, but this was not possible. However, nothing daunted the young people and the faithful, who stayed up all night to bid farewell to the Pope before he left for the jungle city of Madre de Dios.

And the wait of the night before was rewarded. The Pope came out at 7:39 a.m. on Friday 19 to the balcony of the residence. "I go to Father of God and you accompany me with prayer, but first let's greet the mother." and prayed a Hail Mary. Finally he imparted the blessing and wished those present a good day.

These first gestures of Francis were a foretaste of what we would later see in Madre de Dios, Trujillo and Lima. Always close to the people, demonstrating at every moment his predilection for the most vulnerable.

How could we forget the old lady Trinidad in Trujillo. "My name is Trinidad and I am 99 years old. I can't see. I want to touch your little hand, read a poster. The Pope did not hesitate to approach and give him his blessing, or that other situation when he approached a child with cerebral palsy, who had been brought to Lima from the north of the country. The Pope's first question was whether he was baptized, and he did not hesitate to do so at that moment.

The Pope has treated us as his favorite children, but as the good father that he is, nothing has escaped him, even those issues that hurt us.

The Mass on Sunday the 21st, which was attended by one and a half million people, was unprecedented in our history. Neither the intense sun, nor the heat, nor the long wait were obstacles for the faithful to participate in this celebration of faith. The people entered at midnight.

"Yours is life."

And from Lima, considered the capital of the defense of life, because of the hundreds of thousands of people who gather every year at the March for Life, Francis sent a tweet that shook many on social networks. "Every life counts: from the beginning to the end, from conception to natural death." tweeted the Pope on January 19, before starting his trip to the Peruvian jungle.

That was more than an impulse for our work in defense of life, so when we had the opportunity to have the Holy Father face us face to face and he told us: "!"Ché Gaspar, your thing is life", We understood that Pope Francis knows all the apostolic concerns, and that nothing and no one is alien to him.

In his homily during Holy Mass on Sunday the 21st, His Holiness referred to "human leftovers". "It hurts to note that many times among these "human leftovers" there are the faces of so many children and adolescents. They are the faces of the future"..

The chronicle of this visit of the Pope must underline his strong denunciation of sexual slavery and for the dignity of women, as he did in Puerto Maldonado, or his warning voice in respect of the indigenous people of Peru: "Amazonian peoples have never been as threatened as they are now."He also pointed out in Puerto Maldonado.

The meeting with the peoples of the Peruvian Amazon, the Pope said, "It was exciting, a sign to the world. That day was the first meeting of the synodal commission of the Synod for the Amazon, which will be in 2019. But I was moved at the Hogar El Principito, seeing these children, most of them abandoned. Those boys and girls who with education managed to get ahead, who are professionals. I was very moved by that".

"The soul of the visit"

Thirty thousand young volunteers made up the so-called Pope's Guard. They  most of them were at the Holy Mass of the Palms in Lima on January 21. The volunteers arrived on Saturday, January 20, at 2:00 p.m., and left on Sunday at 9:00 p.m.  night. More than 24 hours of work to facilitate the entry and help the 1.5 million pilgrims who arrived at the Las Palmas air base.

They, the young people, were described by the Holy Father as the present of the Church, and he called them to be the new Peruvian saints of the 21st century. n

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