Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service

Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service

SAN CRISTOBAL DE LAS CASAS, Mexico - Paying homage to the culture and ancient wisdom of Mexico's indigenous peoples, Pope Francis urged them to hold on to hope and condemned those who exploit their people and their land.

ECATEPEC, Mexico - Pope Francis began his travels to Mexico's "peripheries" by visiting an overcrowded, sprawling settlement known internationally as a hunting ground for girls to force into prostitution and for boys to enlist in the drug trade.

MEXICO CITY - Pope Francis told Mexico's president and government officials that the country's future can be bright only if government and business leaders put an end to a culture of "favors" for the influential and scraps for the poor.

ABOARD THE PAPAL FLIGHT FROM HAVANA - Though their differences are recognizable and real, Pope Francis and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill of Moscow emphasized their obligation as Christians and as bishops to encourage collaboration among Christians and charity for all who suffer.

HAVANA - At long last, Pope Francis and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill of Moscow embraced, kissing each other three times.

ABOARD THE PAPAL FLIGHT TO HAVANA - Making his 12th trip abroad, Pope Francis was accustomed to collecting interview requests, notes and gifts from the journalists who travel on the plane with him.

VATICAN CITY - Meeting Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, Pope Francis expressed his hopes that Iraq and other war-torn countries would have leaders strong enough to bring once-divided peoples together.

VATICAN CITY - A jubilee year that does not open people's wallets to share what they have with others is not a true jubilee, Pope Francis said.

VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis is scheduled to have more than two hours alone with Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill of Moscow in Cuba in addition to signing a declaration with the patriarch before flying on to Mexico for a Feb. 12-17 visit.

VATICAN CITY - After almost three decades of tense Catholic-Russian Orthodox relations, Pope Francis will meet Patriarch Kirill of Moscow Feb. 12 in Cuba on the Pope's way to Mexico.