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MEDELLIN, Colombia (CNS) -- In a city many think of as being synonymous with new directions for the Catholic Church, Pope Francis told Colombian Catholics faith is not measured by how well they follow rules, but by the depth of their prayer life and the degree to which it pushes them to share the Gospel.
The pope's visit to Medellin Sept. 9 began so wet and so foggy that he was forced to travel the 30 miles from Rionegro airport by car rather than helicopter. The change in plans meant the Mass began 45 minutes later than scheduled.
But by the time the service did begin, the rain had stopped and the fog had begun to lift, providing a clear view of the city's skyscrapers and the lush green mountains beyond. Before the opening prayer, Pope Francis apologized for the wait and thanked the estimated 1.3 million people for their patience.
The bishops of Latin America met in Medellin in 1968 and formally committed themselves to a "preferential option for the poor," to the support of small Christian communities and to a Gospel-based reading of their social and economic realities. While their commitments were rooted in the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, their focus on Latin America's concrete situation marked a sharp change in direction.