Pilgrims are already trickling into Ciudad Juarez from El Paso for the pope's afternoon Mass. Many in the U.S. border city were planning to cross into Mexico for the ceremony -- some for the first time in a decade.
Of the 215,000 tickets distributed for Mass, at least 10,000 went to El Paso. An additional 4,000 people were expected to cross from the U.S. to join a human chain protecting the pope's 25-mile route from the airport to the border Mass.
"The truth is, we're united in many ways across our border," said El Paso Bishop Mark Seitz. "A high percentage of people in El Paso have relatives in Juarez or send their children to school there or work there. Our geography, our history unites us."