I didn’t realize, when I first began watching the Masses and appearances of Pope Francis’ visit to Mexico, just how much the vibrant colors and rich florals would enhance the worship. I didn’t at first try to grab screen shots of the scene at Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon Stadium–the women in multi-colored veils and dresses, the children in matching costumes, the maracas and the guiros, the violins and vihuelas.

But if you haven’t had a chance to see at least some of the parades and celebrations, you’ve missed such an explosive celebration of faith and love!

So this evening, watching the replay of the Pope’s visit with the youth of Mexico, I captured a few screen shots. Thank you to CatholicTV for producing such excellent coverage of the youth meeting and of all the events of the past few days.

I can’t really do it justice, but here–just a taste of the costumes, the colors, the rising smoke, the waving flags, the Holy Spirit banner…

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…and the confetti, blasting skyward and encircling the massive cross erected in the middle of the stadium for Pope Francis’ visit.

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The Pope’s words during┬áthe elaborate musical celebration were serious, though.

“Jesus does not want you to be hit men,” he told the young people gathered in Morelia, in Mexico’s gang-infested heartland.

“…It is a lie to believe that the only way to live, or to be young, is to entrust oneself to drug dealers or others who do nothing but sow destruction and death.”

In the last decade, more than 100,000 Mexicans have lost their lives in that country’s drug war, as rival gangs fight for dominance on the roads which carry drugs and other contraband to the border for sale in the United States.