EL PASO, Texas (KRQE) – Hundreds of the people at the El Paso Sun Bowl are New Mexicans who made the trip to the border to witness a once in a lifetime event, Pope Francis’ Papal Mass.
It was the closest the pope had ever come to New Mexico. It was a day of hope and peace as two nations came together for one momentous celebration.
“I think it just humbles us that we can come together,” said Veronica Alvarez of New Mexico.
People from all over the United States filled the stands, but a good number of them were from right here in New Mexico. All to be part of the Holy Father’s historic visit.
“I just feel very blessed to be here and it’s .. very emotional for me,” said Bertha Perez.
Hundreds awaited before the gates opened at the Sun Bowl. Crowds of people were cheering and waving eagerly to be part of Wednesday’s historic event.
As we said, this is the first time a pope has visited the US-Mexico border.
Before the Pope’s mass, people danced and prayed.
“It was unbelievable honestly,” said 14-year-old Aine Garcia.
Everyone couldn’t wait for the live telecast of the pope’s mass in Juarez. For most Catholics, this is a moment they’ve dreamed of all their lives.
They say even though they may not be in the presence of the pontiff himself, it’s a momentous day.
“With the pope watching it from here to the TV you know, that’s a blessing for me and for my wife,” said Bicent Terrones.
“We are very happy to be here because we are at least going to get to see the pope on the screen that’s still I believe it’s a blessing because he is so close to us and that’s as close as we can get for now,” said Flor Valencuela.
The pope’s two hour mass began at 4:30 at the Juarez fairgrounds. The fairgrounds are within sight of the US-Mexico border.
The streets and river banks there are filled with people, hoping to catch a glimpse of the pope.
There will be several US bishops there including Santa Fe archbishop John C. Wester. “I always say wherever Pope Francis is there, I want to be. He is a wonderful, wonderful pastor and he gives me inspiration. He inspires me,” said Wester.
Also at the blessing, nearly 600 immigrants. Many of which have risked their lives for a better life in the US. The pope has talked a lot about immigration on his trip through Mexico.
The pope’s journey through Mexico has presented some issues. Tuesday night as he was flying to Mexico City, someone shined a laser beam at his plane as the pilot was trying to land. Those lasers can temporarily blind a pilot. Fortunately this pilot was able to land safely.
On Tuesday as well, the pope also got caught in a dangerous situation that prompted him to display a rare show of anger. He scolded an admirer after the person pulled his robe so hard that the pope nearly fell down on a child in a wheel chair.
Pope Francis told the person twice, not to be selfish.
KRQE is live tweeting the event on Twitter; follow @krqeemily >>