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Pope in Mexico: Juarez Ready for Message of Encouragement

People have been stopping by Downtown Juarez to take pictures next to this cardboard cutout of Pope Francis. He arrives in Juarez, Chihuahua Wednesday.

Pope Francis continued his history-making trek through Mexico Sunday, visiting one of Mexico City's poorest suburbs, ravaged by cartel violence.

During the day-long visit to Ecatepec, the Pontiff held an outdoor mass where he addressed poverty and violence.

He denounced what he called the three temptations of wealth, vanity and pride.

It's a message he's expected to repeat Wednesday, when he visits Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

The city was ravaged for years by fighting among drug cartels - and violence against women.

Hundreds of them were factory, or "maquiladora" workers, who either never arrived to work, or never arrived back home.

The downtown became a virtual ghost town.

Sunday, the place was packed, with street performers, food vendors, shoe shiners and families out for an afternoon of fun.

They say Juarez is safe again.

This is their one shot to prove it to the Pope, and to the world.

Around virtually every corner, you'll find signs with his image. Some signs welcoming the leader of the Catholic Church. Others thank him for his visit.

The city is home to more than two million people.

That number is expected to balloon to three million by Wednesday.

Local school gymnasiums are being set up to provide shelter to visitors.

Families are stocking up on water and snacks. Merchants have advised people to do this, because the city will be virtually paralyzed by Tuesday afternoon. That's when closures will go into effect along the Pope's route. The main road he'll take during his three stops cuts through the heart of the city.

People won't be allowed to drive through the barricades.

Crews also installed the final piece of the altar Sunday, where the Pope will hold mass. The site was officially handed over to the government in a ceremony Sunday afternoon.

Wednesday's mass is expected to draw a crowd of more than 300,000 people. Some plan to watch from the other side of the border in El Paso, Texas.

El Paso is also hosting a celebration at the Sun Bowl - which will have a live feed from the service in Juarez.

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