CHICAGO - With the poverty on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border, Pope Francis' visit to the region in February will be an important opportunity for the Catholic Church "to emphasize the mercy of God that is at the core of the Christian faith."

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VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis will visit some of the most marginalized communities in Mexico and seek to bring hope to a country deeply suffering from crime, corruption and inequality when he visits in February.

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VATICAN CITY - On the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Pope Francis announced that he would travel to the Marian shrine in Mexico City and pray to Mary so that Christian communities "may become oases and rivers of mercy."

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MEXICO CITY - Mexican Foreign Minister Claudia Ruiz Massieu has confirmed that Pope Francis will visit the capital, Mexico City, along with the states of Chihuahua and Chiapas -- on the northern and southern borders respectively -- and Michoacan in western Mexico.

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MEXICO CITY - Pope Francis is exploring the possibility of visiting the previously problematic border city of Ciudad Juarez, where a battle between drug cartels during the past decade cost more than 10,000 lives in a four-year period.

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NEW YORK - A Honduran cardinal who is a top advisor to Pope Francis said he expects the pontiff to travel to Mexico’s border with the United States when he visits that country in February.

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MEXICO CITY - Pope Francis will visit Mexico in February, marking the pontiff's first trip to the heavily Catholic country, said Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera of Mexico City.

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VATICAN CITY - The Vatican said Tuesday (Oct. 6) that “concrete steps” were being taken to arrange a papal trip to Mexico, with reports Pope Francis’ visit could come in early 2016.

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MEXICO CITY - Mexico's Supreme Court has declared state-level laws, defining marriage only as the union of a man and a woman, discriminatory and unconstitutional. The decision, in effect, legalizes same-sex marriages in all 31 of the country's states.

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WASHINGTON - Long before Pope Francis' encyclical on care for creation was released, it was providing a boost for a group of women struggling to keep the negative influences of modern-day life from erasing valued Mexican traditions and treasured cultural practices along the Mexico-Texas border.

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MEXICO CITY - Bishops from Mexico's southernmost dioceses issued a statement calling for Catholics to stop acting indifferently toward the difficulties faced by undocumented migrants, who continue abandoning Central America and taking dangerous trips through Mexico in their attempts at reaching the United States.

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MEXICO CITY - The Mexican bishops' conference issued an impassioned plea for peace and an end to the bloodshed in a country consumed with the crisis of 43 teacher trainees allegedly captured by crooked cops, killed by organized crime and burned.

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MEXICO CITY - The Archdiocese of Mexico City called for a "reconstruction of the country" in response to the disappearance of 43 teacher trainees in an act that authorities allege was authored by a mayor and his wife and carried out by police working alongside an organized crime network.

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TIXTLA, Mexico - Families of 43 students who "disappeared" in Guerrero state spend their time praying at the teacher training college the students attended. They plead for intervention from Our Lady of Guadalupe and pray the rosary in front of a makeshift St. James shrine, adorned with flowers placed in plastic Pepsi and mayonnaise bottles and set up in a common area adorned with murals of Che Guevara and other revolutionaries.

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NOGALES, Ariz. - A shirtsleeve waved from the top of the border fence like a signal flag.

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