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Pope Arrives In Mexico With An Ambitious Agenda, Will Hold Mass Visible Across The Borders

LOS ANGELES ( —  The Pope has landed in Mexico and he's got a busy schedule planned .

The Pope will be the first pontiff to visit the US-Mexican border. Pope Francis will celebrate a mass that will be visible from both countries. He's also expected to confront Mexico's political  corruption and drug violence.

Tall orders, to be sure. And eyes in both countries will be on him.

KCAL9's Tom Wait spoke to Angelenos who are also looking forward to watching from afar.

At the airport in Mexico City thousands packed bleachers along the runway for a welcome ceremony fit for royalty -- much of the arrival carried live on American TV.

Pope Francis
(credit: CBS)

The plane carrying Pope Francis rolled up to a red carpet -- and a grandiose reception. As Francis emerged, the crowd went wild. A large group of Mariachi members danced.

Francis was greeted by Mexico's elite, including the country's deeply unpopular president, Enrique Pena Nieto. From the tarmac Francis was escorted to his Pope mobile, and out of the airport where thousands lined the streets to cheer his arrival.

Religious scholars say look for Francis to put the issues facing every day Mexicans on blast.

"He's going to talk about violence. He's going to talk about corruption in government. He's going to talk about care for the elderly," says scholar, author and Loyola Marymount Teacher Jesuit Fr. Allan Figueroa Deck.

"He obviously is not going to give a formula on how to resolve these deeply engrained and complicated issues but he's going to call everybody – every person of good will to work together," Fr. Deck says.

Migrant issues will be another focus. Pope Francis is going to follow the path of thousands who make their way from the southern part of the country, all the way up to the U.S. border. At the end of the trip he'll hold a mass on a specially made altar which can be seen from El Paso, Texas – a historic first for any pontiff.

"He's going to the place where there's suffering, where there's danger, where there's violence and he's trying to identify himself with those groups," Fr. Deck says.

And while church membership has declined in Mexico, it would seem Francis' message is resonating with young people. In many places. CBS News spoke to one such couple who traveled to Mexico from Florida for a chance to glimpse the pontiff.


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