This image released by the Vatican shows Pope Francis celebrating mass at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a major Catholic shrine, on February 13, 2016 in Mexico City, Mexico. / AFP / Osservatore Romano / Osservatore Romano
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Pope Francis will celebrate an open-air mass in a crime-plagued Mexico City suburb Sunday after thousands of pilgrims spent the night outdoors, awaiting his message of peace in the cold.Ecatepec, a concrete maze of 1.6 million people, is in the state of Mexico, a region that has become infamous for a spate of disappearances of women, whose bodies sometimes turn up in abandoned lots or canals.Pope Francis has chosen to visit some of Mexico's most troubled regions during his five-day trip to the world's second most populous Catholic country.The crimes against women in the state of Mexico, which surrounds the capital, prompted the federal government to declare a "gender violence alert" requiring protective measures in 11 towns, including Ecatepec.The pope caps the trip in Mexico's former murder capital, Ciudad Juarez, for a mass that will span the U.S. and Mexican borders to highlight the plight of migrants.
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