Pope Francis prays upon his arrival in Mexico City on February 12, 2016. / AFP / ALFREDO ESTRELLA
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Pope Francis kicks off his first trip to Mexico Saturday with speeches to the country's political and ecclesiastical elites, riding in on the success of his historic meeting in Cuba with the head of the Russian Orthodox Church.Francis tweeted that the meeting was a "gift from God".The focus quickly shifted to Francis' five-day Mexico visit, which will include a very personal prayer before the Virgin of Guadalupe shrine, the largest and most important Marian shrine in the world and one that is particularly important to the first Latin American pope.Francis arrived in Mexico's capital to adoring crowds waving yellow handkerchiefs.On Saturday, Francis begins his visit by meeting with Mexican officials and foreign ambassadors at the National Palace. The speech, which is a fixture of every papal trip, is usually the pope's most political message, and Francis is expected to touch on some of the grave problems facing Mexico stemming from drug violence, migration and poverty. The pope will then speak to Mexico's bishops at the Cathedral of the Assumption.
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