The Latest: Argentine Brings Family for Papal Doubleheader

Here are the latest developments from Pope Francis' trip to South America:


10:50 a.m.

Among the Argentines who came to Paraguay to see their fellow countryman Pope Francis was 50-year-old Jose Demetrio Barrionuevo. The pharmaceutical salesman traveled with his wife and four children from Tucuman, Argentina.

Barrionuevo said pride over Pope Francis is not just a matter of sharing a common homeland. He said: "We are also proud of his humility — that he prefers to be with the poor and not the rich."

Barrionuevo said the family also planned to attend Sunday's Mass at the Nu Guazu, a field inside a military base where John Paul II canonized St. Roque Gonzalez in 1988.

Gonzalez was a Jesuit missionary to the native Guarani in the 16th and 17th centuries in what would become Paraguay.


10:30 a.m.

Pope Francis has arrived at the Shrine of the Virgin of Caacupe, where he stood in silent prayer before a statue of the virgin, an icon of the Madonna that is very close to his heart.

After a moment of prayer, he approached the base of the statue, placed his hand on it, and left a white rose to the applause of the few people gathered in the basilica.

Caacupe is the most important pilgrimage site in Paraguay. Tens of thousands of people, including Francis' Argentine countrymen, have packed the plaza outside the basilica for his first Mass in Paraguay.


10:30 a.m.

Standing on the corner of the plaza of the shrine of the Virgin of Caacupe was Santa Cristina Rodriguez.

The woman said she survives by recycling plastic and doing other odd jobs. Rodriguez said through a smile that showed only a few teeth: "The pope loves the poor and I am very poor"

She said Paraguayans are hard-working, but there are no jobs.

There are believers who credit the Virgin of Caacupe with miracles. Carmen Mesa is one. She was among the Argentines who arrived on foot from Clorinda, Argentina, just across the Paraguay River.

Mesa said she prayed to the virgin when her 13-year-old granddaughter was hospitalized with a gastric infection. Said Mesa: "By the grace of God, she survived and is now a healthy young girl."


9:00 a.m.

Pope Francis is receiving a very Argentine welcome at Paraguay's shrine of the Virgin of Caacupe.

Thousands of Argentines have traveled north for to be with the Argentina-born pope for his first big event in Paraguay: a Mass at the shrine that is the country's most important pilgrimage site and a place close to Francis' heart.

When he was archbishop of Buenos Aires, the former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio often visited a slum that is home to many Paraguayan immigrants, joining them in their religious processions and celebrating baptisms at their church, Our Lady of Miracles of Caacupe.

Argentina's blue and white national colors were ubiquitous at Caacupe on Saturday. One featured the mantra "Estamos Haciendo Lio" (We're making a mess") emblazoned on it. It's a reference to a call Francis made during a 2013 trip to Brazil in which he urged young Argentines to shake things up in their dioceses.


8:30 a.m.

Pope Francis is taking his recycling mantra to a new level by traveling around Paraguay's capital in the same white Peugeot that St. John Paul II used when he visited in 1988.

The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, quipped: "It seems to still work."

Paraguayans erupted in cheers Saturday outside the Acosta Nu pediatric hospital when Francis' unusual motorcade pulled up for his first event of the day.

Francis long has insisted on traveling in compact cars rather than fancy limousines or armored popemobiles, part of his simple style and insistence that priests aren't princes but servants.

He uses a Ford Focus to get around the Vatican, and he endeared himself in South Korea when he zipped around town in a Kia.

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