Pope heads to Mexico’s drug heartland

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Pope Francis waves at the crowd as he returns from Chiapas state to the Apostolic Nunciature in Mexico City on February 15, 2016. Pope Francis reached out to Mexico's long-marginalized indigenous population on Monday, asking for forgiveness over their exclusion as he celebrated an open-air mass in native languages in impoverished Chiapas state. AFP PHOTO/ DIANA ULLOA / AFP / DIANA ULLOA (Photo credit should read DIANA ULLOA/AFP/Getty Images)


MEXICO CITY (AP) — 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 took 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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