Sadly, it is not too often that we visit our Mexican friends. Thus it was with great joy and excitement that we accepted an invitation from Daniel del Rio, the President of the Mexican chapter of Friends of John Paul II Foundation, to visit with them in Mexico. Father Krzysztof Wieliczko, the Administrator of our Vatican Foundation, and Richard Krzyzanowski, Member of the Board, made this visit in early December 2019.
Our visit began with a stay in Merida, a large city on the Yucatan Peninsula. We met in the home of one of our members where Fr. Krzysztof celebrated private masses and delivered uplifting homilies. We were particularly pleased to visit at the home of Daniel del Rio’s daughter where preparations for Christmas Day were in full swing. Daniel’s three grandchildren, future members of our Foundation, greeted us warmly.
The culmination of our visit to the Yucatan Peninsula was a trip of more than 150 kilometers into the jungle where our Mexican friends are involved in the construction of a shrine for our Lady of Guadalupe. This new shrine will include a chapel for Saint John Paul II—founder of our Foundation and a great friend and admirer of the Mexican people. Saint John Paul II made six visits to Mexico during his Papacy. Arriving in the middle of the jungle, the future shrine makes an overwhelming impression about the love the Mexican people have for Mary—mother of Christ.
Next on our trip, we traveled to Mexico City which was equally exciting and uplifting to all of us. Fr. Krzysztof celebrated a Holy Mass at the Basilica de Guadalupe amidst thousands of believers who flock daily to this holiest of Mexican shrines. We visited a hospice of terminally ill patients, “Albergue La Esperanza”, which our Mexican friends have patronized and supported for many years. Fr. Krzysztof celebrated a very emotional Holy Mass accompanied by the beautiful singing of Mexican hymns for Mother of Guadalupe. Coco Rio, a member of our Mexican Foundation, serves as a volunteer in the hospice providing daily, spiritual care to its patients. Thank you, Coco for your selfless and gracious service to the less fortunate among us.
Dinner at the home of our longtime friends and supporters Mr. and Mrs. Torados concluded our visit to Mexico. We are grateful to Daniel del Rio and his spouse Coco for hosting and accompanying us during this visit. Thank you for your blessed and gracious hospitality. We are expecting you all in Rome in April 2020 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of our founder, Saint John Paul II. God Bless Mexico.