Catholic Church conference symbolizes stronger role in Mexican life

Posted: Friday, May 12, 2000

MEXICO CITY (AP) -- Thousands of Mexicans attended a Mass for the sick, culminating a four-day national religious conference designed to claim a larger public role for the Catholic Church after 150 years of marginalization.

The Mass on Sunday concluded the country's second-ever National Eucharistic Congress, a series of unusually public religious events that appeared to symbolize a new era of church boldness.

The highlight of the Congress was an open-air Mass on Saturday night in Mexico City's Zocalo plaza, a public space traditionally considered the heart of an aggressively secular state.

Nearly 150 bishops, archbishops and several cardinals appeared together on a platform, while tens of thousands of faithful gathered below.

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