Editor Emeritus - Ed Wilkinson

Stay With NET-TV for The Pope in Mexico

Keep your TV tuned to NET during this Presidents’ Day weekend for complete coverage of Pope Francis’ visit to Mexico.

Here at DeSales Media, the parent company of NET-TV and The Tablet, we are excited that more viewers than ever can watch the papal trip live. That’s because NET was recently added to the Verizon/Fios cable television package. Now the station’s reach extends throughout all of New York State, as well as to some border neighborhoods in Connecticut.

NET has been preparing its coverage of the papal visit to Mexico for months. All the action begins Friday evening when the pope’s plane is scheduled to touch down in Mexico City after a brief stop in Havana where Pope Francis will spend two hours with Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill.

The pope-patriarch meeting is an add-on to the original Mexico schedule. The Vatican announced that the pope will leave Rome almost five hours earlier than originally scheduled so that the meeting in Havana with the patriarch will not impact his schedule in Mexico.

Once the Holy Father lands in Mexico, the route from the airport to the nunciature in Mexico City, where the pope will sleep, is about 12 miles, and people are expected to line most of the route when he arrives from Cuba.

Liz Faublas, with an assist from myself, will anchor the coverage that will extend over six days. During that time, we will be speaking with our reporters on the ground. Currents correspondent Katie Breidenbach will be live in Mexico City and in Juarez City on the U.S.-Mexico border. She will be joined there by Vatican watcher Austen Ivereigh, who will be providing his expert commentary.

Father Jorge Ortiz, the diocesan coordinator of Mexican ministry in Brooklyn and Queens, will report from Chiapas, where the scenes from the indigenous areas should be colorful and exciting on Monday, Feb. 15. And Michelle Powers will be on the ground in El Paso, Texas, when the pope celebrates Mass just across the Rio Grande in Juarez City on Wednesday, Feb. 17.

When we are not hearing directly from Mexico, we will be speaking with a host of local experts in our studios. Fathers Agustino Torres, C.F.R., and Joseph Espaillat, a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, who were part of our Pope in the USA team, will be here again, as well several special guests such as Father Felix Herrera from St. Joan of Arc parish, Jackson Heights; Father Manuel de Jesus Rodriguez, pastor of Presentation B.V.M., Jamaica; and Sister Tatiana Ramirez, P.C.M., who serves at St. Joseph’s Co-Cathedral, Prospect Heights.

Throughout the visit, we will have live feeds from pool cameras and Vatican TV, interspersed with background packages our staff has been preparing. Everything will be live streamed on our websites. And you can join the conversation on Twitter at #PapaEnMex.

When we are not coming to you live, our programming department will offer several documentaries about the Church and Mexico: “Miracles in Mexico,” “One Border, One Body,” “Strangers No Longer,” and “The Invisible Chapel.”

Consult our NET-TV guide pullout in this issue for the times and dates of our full schedule of special shows for this occasion.

Here’s an interesting sidebar to the papal journey: Pope Francis has made it a tradition to invite a lay Vatican employee to join his entourage on trips abroad. This time, it will be one of the Vatican firefighters. “Let’s hope he won’t have to work,” a Vatican spokesman joked.