TIJUANA – Despite rain in the forecast, an estimated 75,000 faithful from both sides of the border are expected to turn out to see the relics of Pope John Paul II on tour this weekend at parishes downtown and in the city’s east side.
Personal items from the pope, who was beloved by Mexicans, have been on tour for four months in the country. The items include a wax figure of the pope wearing the vestments he wore during one of his five visits to Mexico, a crucifix and a vial of the pope’s blood.
Tijuana’s municipal police department announced Friday that it would field 80 officers on foot and in patrol cars and 12 on motorcycle to assist in crowd control during the weekend.
Locally, the “Pilgrim of Faith” tour began at 6 a.m. Saturday at La Misión at the city’s boundary with Ensenada, the Tijuana Archdiocese announced.
From 7 to 11 a.m., the relics were to be displayed at the Parroquia Santísimo Sacramento de Playas de Tijuana, where the theme would be “Eucharist and Reconciliation.”
From noon to 4 p.m. the display moves to the cathedral in central Tijuana, where the theme will be “Christian Identity and the Sense of Belonging in the Church.”
Afterward, the relics will be taken to the future cathedral, Nuestra Señora Guadalupe, in the Río zone, where they will remain from 5 p.m. Saturday until 6 a.m. Sunday. There, the theme will be “The Truth about the Ministry.”
Afterward, from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., the relics will move to the parish Parroquia Inmaculado Corazón de María, located in the large east-side district of El Florido, where the theme will be “María, a Model of Sainthood.”
From there, they will be moved to the city of Tecate to the parish Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, where they will remain from 2 p.m. until 4 a.m. Monday, when they are to leave Baja California.
The tour of the relics began in on Aug. 28 in Toluca, in central Mexico. They will have visited 90 parishes by the time the tour ends in December.
Authorities expect that faithful from California to turn out for this event. They are recommending that they park their cars in public lots in the Río zone and on Third, Fourth and Fifth streets to avoid traffic bottlenecks.
In April, Catholic Church bishops approved the visit to Mexico of the “Reliquias del Beato Juan Pablo II.”
Mexican Catholic leaders had sought the tour because the Pope tirelessly traveled to Mexico spreading a message of peace, justice and reconciliation. His visits reinforced the faith of Mexicans during an era of profound social change, they said.
Karol Wojtyla was elected Pope on Oct. 16, 1978. His pontificate lasted until his death, April 2, 2005, at age 84. Six years later he was beatified by his successor, Pope Benedict XVI.