Ecatepec, Mexico Welcomes Pope Francis Amidst Drug Violence, Kidnappings, and Gang Activity

Kimberly RipleyLife

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Ecatepec, Mexico welcomed Pope Francis on Sunday. Hundreds of thousands of people--many of whom were on foot and clad in white--gathered in hopes of catching a glimpse of the pontiff.

Pope Francis was bringing a message of hope and peace to those living in Ecatepec, Mexico and the surrounding areas, known for gangland-style executions, drug violence, and daily kidnappings.

Ignacia Godinez is a homemaker in Ecatepec, Mexico. She said his arrival brings comfort.

"He's coming to Ecatepec because we need him here," she said. Kidnappings, robberies, and drugs have all increased, and he brings comfort. His message will reach those who need it, so that people know we, the good people, outnumber the bad."

Pope Francis' decision to celebrate the largest Mass during his Mexican visit in Ecatepec highlights his priorities. He is known for serving those on society's margins.

65-year-old Conchita Tellez spent 38 hours on a bus to get to Ecatepec, Mexico.

"The pope comes to Mexico at a very ugly moment," she said. "And he comes to pray for us and for all those who lost hope and have submerged the country in blood and violence."

It's abundantly clear that the people of Ecatepec desperately need the promise of love and peace the pope is bringing. Hopefully at least some of those responsible for the violent acts besieging the region will hear him, too, and aspire to squelch some of these deadly actions.

Kimberly Ripley
Kimberly Ripley is a freelance writer and published author from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. A wife, mom of five and 'Nana' to Lilly and Aiden, she loves cooking for her big family and watching HGTV in her spare time. Kim is guilty of starting way more home design projects than she can finish. Visit her at Twitter and Facebook.