Pope reaches out to Mexico's faithful

March 24, 2012 8:32:30 PM PDT
Pope Benedict reached out to Mexico Saturday night, touching and greeting the faithful in Leon and then in the colonial city of Guanajuato.

Thousands, for a second day, packed the streets as the Pontiff made his way through this colorful and historic town.

"This is the closest we can be with the Pope, so we planned this trip since December," said Daniel Flores of El Paso Texas, who traveled with his wife and daughters.

"It's a great vacation," said his daughter, Cristina. "(How come?) Because we're in Mexico and we get to see the Pope."

Children were the focus Saturday night. The pope kissed a baby along the way.

Young musicians passionately performed and then the Pope stepped onto a balcony overlooking Plaza de Paz and blessed hundreds of children, including the son and daughter of Carlos Ortiz.

"They are preparing to do their First Communion and that's why they know about Jesus, about the Pope and all the Catholic church," Carlos Ortiz said.

Before the blessing, Pope Benedict met with Mexican President Felipe Calderon. Some have questioned the timing of the Pope's visit, saying the president wanted to give his party a boost before the presidential election July 1.

"Mexico was an open possibility right now," said Father Benjamin Clariond. "That it coincides with elections in July, I think that's something accidental. It's not something intended."

The Pope is preparing for a Sunday morning mass. Thousands of people are camping out at a park. The crowd is expected to be at least 300,000.