2/12/16 Los Angeles Times
Before his journey to Mexico, Pope Francis had a favor to ask.
Before his first trip as pontiff to a place with more Catholics than any other Spanish-speaking country, where he will surely be mobbed by the thousands night and day, the pope requested something likely to be in short supply — a few minutes alone.
His only company will be perhaps the most revered religious artifact in the Western Hemisphere, a piece of fabric bearing the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe.
The request for a few minutes by himself with the image was a stunningly personal one from the pope. But he knows the Virgin well, he said, because she has seen him through difficult times.