Pope Francis is on a five-day visit to Mexico. Wherever he has gone, huge crowds of the Catholic faithful have lined his route. Vatican officials estimate as many as one million people came out to catch a glimpse of the Pope during the first full day of his visit. The 79-year-old has had an exhausting schedule, with back-to-back public events and a seven-hour time zone difference.

The mileage that he is clocking standing up in his open-air Popemobile is a testament to his appreciation of Mexico's need to see him up close: After a 14-mile night-time journey from the airport and the nine miles logged on Saturday morning (13 February), he still had about 93 miles more to go before his trip ended.

Mexico is doing a roaring trade in Pope memorabilia. T-shirts emblazoned with the Pope's image are everywhere. Vendors are selling his image printed on just about any item imaginable: flags, posters, towels, scarves, pens, the ubiquitous life-sized cutouts – and lottery tickets.

Pope in Mexico
People wrapped in blankets featuring a photograph of Pope Francis wait for the Pontiff outside the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico CityCarlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters
Pope in Mexico
People walk past a cardboard cut-out of Pope Francis near the Museum of Fine Arts in Mexico CityEdgard Garrido/Reuters
Pope in Mexico
A street seller sells flags and bags with the image of Pope Francis and Virgin of Guadalupe, ahead of his visit to San Cristobal de Las CasasCarlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters
Pope in Mexico
A Polish man member of the religious movement Knights of Christ the King walks near the Basilicia of Guadalupe in Mexico CityCarlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters
Pope in Mexico
A woman holding an image of the Pope's face on a dove waits for the Pontiff to arrive at the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico CityCarlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters
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A baby gets a face-painted image of Pope Francis in Mexico CityHenry Romero/Reuters
Pope in Mexico
Believers look at images of Pope Francis and the Virgin of Guadalupe at a store near the Basilica of GuadalupeCarlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters
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A man walks past images of Pope Francis and the Virgin of Guadalupe on a building in Mexico CityCarlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters
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Pope Francis hugs a child during his visit to the Federico Gomez children's hospital in Mexico CityGabriel Bouys/AFP
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Letters spell out "Papa" at the Zocalo square in Mexico CityPedro Pardo/AFP
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People carry cutouts of the Pope as they await his passage in Mexico CityPedro Pardo/AFP
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Mexican police members stand next to a cutout of Pope Francis as the Pontiff heads to the National Palace in Mexico CityPedro Pardo/AFP
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A vendor displays tickets for a special edition of the lottery for the Pope's visit, in Mexico CityCarlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters

The Pope's trip to Mexico is shining an uncomfortable spotlight on the church's shortcomings and the government's failure to solve entrenched social ills that plague many parts of the country — such as poverty, drug-inspired gangland killings, extortion, disappearances of women, crooked police and failed public services.

Speaking in his native Spanish before bishops inside Mexico City's main cathedral, the Argentine pontiff urged religious leaders to do more to help migrants, "pouring balm on their injured feet" through social and charity programmes. According to government statistics, about 46% of Mexicans were living in poverty in 2014.

Francis brought a message of encouragement on the second full day of his trip to residents of Ecatepec, a poverty-stricken Mexico City suburb of some 1.6 million people where drug violence, kidnappings and gangland-style killings, particularly of women, are a fact of life. The Popemobile passed a colourful graffiti mural celebrating his visit.

Celebrating mass for more than 300,000 people in one of Mexico´s poorest and most dangerous cities, Pope Francis took a swipe at the country's rich and corrupt elite . Decrying "a society of the few and for the few", he denounced deep inequality and the vanity and pride of those who consider themselves a cut above the rest.

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A helicopter flies over a mural painted on a wall topped with barbed wire in EcatepecRonaldo Schemidt/AFP
Pope in Mexico
Pope Francis waves as his popemobile passes a mural depicting him, in EcatepecYuri Cortez/AFP
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Catholic faithful wait for the arrival of Pope Francis in EcatepecPedro Pardo/AFP
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A man wrapped in an image of the Pope attends an open-air mass in EcatepecPedro Pardo/AFP
Pope Mexico
A graffiti mural of Pope Francis is seen on a wall outside a house in Ecatepec, on the outskirts of Mexico CityEdgard Garrido/Reuters
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A woman wearing a mitre hat decorated with photos of Pope Francis watches as he celebrates a mass before a crowd of hundreds of thousands in EcatepecHenry Romero/Reuters
Pope in Mexico
A woman with a religious image painted on her face attends the open-air mass in EcatepecPedro Pardo/AFP
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A security officer speaks on his mobile phone next to a mural depicting Pope Francis in EcatepecYuri Cortez/AFP
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Catholic faithful wait for the arrival of Pope Francis in EcatepecYuri Cotrez/AFP
Pope in Mexico
A member of security stands guard next to a mural depicting Pope Francis in EcatepecYuri Cortez/AFP
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A man photographs a mural welcoming the Pope to EcatepecRonaldo Schemidt/AFP
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Police officers walk past a mural welcoming Pope Francis to EcatepecRonaldo Schemidt/AFP
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The pope is seen with a spray can on the mural in EcatepecRonaldo Schemidt/AFP
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Faithful pray during an open-air mass officiated by Pope Francis in EcatepecAlfredo Estrella/AFP

Pope Francis is due to pay tribute to Mexico's indigenous peoples with a visit to Chiapas state, where he will preside over a mass in three native languages thanks to a new Vatican decree approving their use in liturgy. But the visit, at the midway mark of Francis' five-day trip to Mexico, is also aimed at boosting the faith in the least Catholic state in Mexico.

History's first Latin American pope has already issued a sweeping apology for the Catholic Church's colonial-era crimes against the continent's indigenous. He will go further by celebrating their culture in ways the local church hierarchy has often sought to play down, in a clear demonstration of his belief that the indigenous have an important role to play in Mexico today.

Pope in Mexico
Souvenir pens with images of Pope Francis are seen on a street in Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas stateCarlos Jasso/Reuters
Pope in Mexico
A man sells T-shirts with images of Pope Francis and the Virgin of Guadalupe on a street in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas stateMario Vazquez/AFP
Pope in Mexico
A man looks at a figure depicting Pope Francis while walking along a street, ahead of his visit to San Cristobal de Las CasasCarlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters
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A woman walks past a mural, that reads "Pope Francis in Chiapas", ahead of his visit to San Cristobal de Las CasasCarlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters
Pope in Mexico
A street seller sells flags and bags with the image of Pope Francis and Virgin of Guadalupe, ahead of his visit to San Cristobal de Las CasasCarlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters
Pope in Mexico
Soldiers walk past an image of Pope Francis, ahead of his upcoming visit to San Cristobal de Las CasasCarlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters
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A military policeman controls the traffic in a street of downtown San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas stateMario Vazquez/AFP
Pope in Mexico
Palm crosses with images of Pope Francis are seen on the street in Tuxtla GutierrezCarlos Jasso/Reuters
Pope in Mexico
People pose along a cardboard image of Pope Francis in downtown San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas stateMario Vazquez/AFP
Pope in Mexico
A girl walks past a banner depicting Pope Francis in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas State, on the eve of his arrival for an open-air massRonaldo Schemidt/AFP

The pope will also meet with young people in Morelia, the capital of Michoacan state, where drug gangs and armed vigilante groups have waged a bloody conflict. He will then conclude his trip in the notorious northern border city of Ciudad Juarez, where he will address the tide of illegal immigration into the US, meet relatives of victims of violence and visit a prison.