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Promote peace, Pope tells children

Pope Benedict XVI has reached out to the future of the church in Mexico, telling a gathering of children to be messengers of peace in their often-violent country.

The pope reserved his only public remarks of the day for a gathering of about 4,000 children and their parents massed in Peace Plaza in the city of Guanajuato, telling them that they are each a "gift of God to Mexico and the world".

Referring indirectly to the drug-fuelled violence plaguing Mexico, he urged them all to be messengers of peace.

"The disciple of Jesus does not respond to evil with evil, but is always an instrument of good instead, a herald of pardon, a bearer of happiness, a servant of unity," Benedict said.

"I will pray for all of you, so that Mexico may be a place in which everyone can live in serenity and harmony."

"We're excited to hear his words, not just for this moment, but to carry in our lives and to know God better," said 17-year-old Fabiola Gonzalez, who travelled by bus with a group of 45 teenage girls from Guadalajara to the plaza.

"We hope they will last more than this week."

Benedict was interrupted several times by the cheering crowd that had gathered hours beforehand for an intimate encounter with the 84-year-old pope on one of his few public outings in Mexico.

Tens of thousands, many of them teenagers, watched his remarks on big screen televisions in a nearby pilgrim camp.

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From Belfast Telegraph