On Feb. 15, Pope Francis visited Chiapas State in southeast Mexico. Spending the day in San Cristóbal de las Casas and Tuxtla Gutiérrez, he showed his affection for the native communities and for the weakest among them. Here are some great moments you might have missed:
1. A crown and necklace of flowers for the Pope
A group of indigenous people welcomed Pope Francis at the airport in Tuxla. They gave him three gifts of great symbolic value: a “staff of office” with three points representing the Holy Trinity, a crown and a necklace of flowers with the Vatican colors of yellow and white. According to their custom, these gifts are given to very beloved persons.
2. An impressive altar
The colorful altarpiece for the papal Mass reflected the art of Chiapas. The altar’s lower section was decorated with beautiful pictures of flowers.
3. Chiapan Marimbas
A group of musicians played large xylophone-like instruments called marimbas to accompany the orchestra during the Mass Pope Francis celebrated at San Cristóbal de las Casas.
4. Ritual dance
At end of Communion, the faithful performed a traditional ritual dance permitted in the liturgy. The dance was a simple and joyful moment, and its origins go back to pre-Columbian times.
5. The wooden crosier
Pope Francis used a wooden crosier made from cedar during the Mass at San Cristóbal de las Casas. The inspiration for its design comes from the staff that shepherds use with their sheep. The staff’s upper part features a cross tilted forward and carved roses representing Our Lady of Guadalupe.
6. A flying skullcap
The wind lifted off the Pope's white zucchetto during his homily. Msgr. Guido Marini, the Papal Master of Ceremonies, took action as soon as he saw it happen. He retrieved the zucchetto and held on to it for a few moments.
7. The song “Pescador de Hombres,” Fishers of Me
When the Holy Father was at the cathedral in San Cristóbal de las Casas, he met with the sick and elderly. The congregation welcomed him with the song “Pescadores de Hombres.” The song is also found in some American hymnals in Spanish and English.
This song was one of Saint John Paul II's favorites. He heard it for the first time in Polish and thought it had been composed in his native language. However, he later learned that the song was originally composed in Spanish. Its composer, Cesáreo Gabarain, wrote the song more than 35 years ago.
8. A shower of gifts
At the cathedral of San Cristóbal de las Casas, Pope Francis approached the faithful to greet them and bless them. He received various gifts such as baskets, bags embroidered with indigenous designs and many letters.
9. A giant welcome sig
At the heliport annex at the “Victor Manuel Reyna” stadium in Tuxtla Gutiérrez there was a massive welcome sign for Pope Francis. It read: “Chiapas welcomes you with open arms and heart.”
10. A blessing of solidarity
During the Pope’s meeting with families at the Victor Manuel Reyna Stadium, a group of people brought over to the stage a boy in a wheelchair. The Pope went over to the edge of the stage and with the help of the papal guards he blessed the boy.