Mexico (Thursday, February 18, 2016, Gaudium Press) This is the official text of the farewell speech of Pope Francis on February 17, 2016.
Dear Bishop José Guadalupe Torres Campos of Juárez City,
Dear brothers in the episcopate,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Thank you very much, Your Excellency, for your kind words of farewell. Now is the moment to give thanks to Our Lord for having granted me this visit to Mexico.
I do not want to leave without giving thanks for the efforts of all who made this pilgrimage possible. I thank all the state and local authorities for your attention and solicitous assistance that have contributed to the smooth running of this pastoral visit, just as I also thank wholeheartedly those who have offered their contribution in different ways. To all those anonymous helpers who quietly gave of their very best to make these days a great family celebration: Thank you. I have felt welcomed and warmly received by the love, the celebration, the hope of this great Mexican family: Thank you for having opened the doors of your lives to me, the doors of your nation.
The Mexican writer Octavio Paz says in his poem Hermandad:
“I am a man: I only last a brief while, and the night is vast. But I look up: The stars are writing. Without grasping, I understand: I am also the writing, and in this very instant, someone is spelling me out” (Un sol más vivo. Antología poética, Ed. Era, México 2014, 268).
Taking up these beautiful words, I dare to suggest that the one who spells us out and marks out the road for us is the mysterious but real presence of God in the real flesh of all people, especially the poorest and most needy of Mexico. The night can seem vast and very dark, but in these days, I have been able to observe that in this people there are many lights who proclaim hope; I have been able to see in many of their testimonies, in many of their faces, the presence of God, who carries on walking in this land, guiding you, sustaining hope; many men and women, with their everyday efforts, make it possible for this Mexican society not to be left in darkness. They are tomorrow’s prophets; they are the sign of a new dawn.
May Mary, Mother of Guadalupe, continue to visit you, continue to walk on your lands, helping you to be missionaries and witnesses of mercy and reconciliation.
Once again, thank you very much.