Juarez prepares for Pope's visit to U.S.-Mexico border

EMBED </>More Videos

Pope Francis will travel to the U.S.-Mexico border on Wednesday, part of his week-long historic visit to America's neighbor to the south. (WLS)

Pope Francis will travel to the U.S.-Mexico border on Wednesday, part of his week-long historic visit to America's neighbor to the south.

Among the graffiti, dirt roads, and stray dogs you'll find three Chicagoans who traveled to Juarez to see the border and the Pope.

"To me it's an inspirational moment because he's really here for the right reasons. He's here to call attention to the injustices that are so often ignored," says Arturo Carrillo.

"It's going to be good to have Pope Francis bring some attention to the conditions here as well as abroad," says Ana Guajardo.

Those are the conditions the working poor here face every day.
EMBED More News Videos

Pope Francis will travel to the U.S.-Mexico border on Wednesday, part of his week-long historic visit to America?s neighbor to the south.


This is a look at one of the poorest neighborhoods in Juarez. The dirt roads, widespread poverty and most of the people who work here work at the maquiladoras: factories.

On his trip here, the Pope will also visit a prison to pray with hundreds of inmates.

From there, he'll travel by Popemobile. The streets are already filled with signs, welcoming the Pope before he ends his day here celebrating mass with more than 200,000 people.

"Just having the Pope here that says a lot... a lot. It's a gift from God," says Maria Gamboa-Trinidad, who traveled from Los Angeles to see the Pope in Juarez.

Father Jose Cuellar is here on behalf of migrants in Chicago.

"They ask me please, when you are close to the Pope, pray for us," he said.

Thousands more will fill the Sun Bowl in El Paso to watch the Pope's Mass at an event organized by Chicago-based Catholic Extension.

"He's always kind of going to the borders of places and saying there is a deeper unity going on," said Fr. Jack Wall, president of Catholic Extension. "This stadium, I'm sure will be rockin'."

Chicago priest offers glimpse of Juarez ahead of Pope's visit

EMBED More News Videos

In a corner of Juarez, where stray dogs roam and the roads are unpaved, you'll find Father Carl Quebedeaux who is looking forward to the Pope's visit.



In a corner of Juarez, where stray dogs roam and the roads are unpaved, you'll find Father Carl Quebedeaux who is looking forward to the Pope's visit.

"I think it's a tremendous blessing," Fr. Quebedeaux says.

Father Quebedeaux has been in Juarez serving the neighborhood of Tierra Nueva for eight months. He spent 22 years in Chicago's Pilsen and South Chicago neighborhoods. In the midst of this poverty, he sees hope.

"There are so many areas of hope. One of the areas I see are the youth - the youth are really alive in the mix of all the struggles," he says.

And that's why he's grateful Pope Francis will celebrate mass here at the border. Fellow Catholics feel the same way.

"It's important that the Pope is visiting us for the youth as well as the workers in the maquiladoras," says Maria Blanco, a factory worker in Juarez.

Father Quebedeaux points to the economic barriers, saying it's the children who suffer.

"You have living parents but children who are orphans because they never see their parents," he says.

Even after 17 years, Maria Blanco earns a $1.20 an hour, which is considered a decent wage. And that's why, like the Pope, Father Quebedeaux will continue serving the poor, whether in Chicago or Juarez.

"Juarez is love. It's hope," says Fr. Quebedeaux. "I love the people and I love to serve. The people are a blessing, a great blessing."

Security will be tight along the border when Pope Francis arrives Wednesday, and on both sides of the fence people are selling souvenirs of the pope's visit.

Once Mass is over, it's back to Rome. Mexico's president and first lady will send him off at the airport.

Related Topics:
religionpope francismexicou.s. & worldcatholic churchChicago - PilsenSouth Chicago
(Copyright ©2017 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

Load Comments