August 10th, 2011
07:49 AM ET
By the CNN Wire Staff
MEXICO CITY (CNN) – A capsule containing the blood of Pope John Paul II will be flown to Mexico next week and displayed in more than 100 locations across the country, officials announced Tuesday.
The blood - drawn in a hospital before the pope's death in 2005 - will be on view in Mexico until mid-December, the country's Catholic Bishops Council said.
A collection of relics connected to the former pope and a rendering of his face copied from a mold taken after his death will also be part of the display, officials said.
"In the perception of a Mexico plunged into terror, pain, hopelessness, anguish, vengeance and rancor as a result of insecurity and violence ... the veneration of the relics will be an opportunity for the baptized and people of good will to turn their eyes to God," the Rev. Manuel Corral, the council's public relations secretary, told reporters.
In their journey around Mexico, the relics will travel more than 22,500 kilometers (13,980 miles). They are scheduled to arrive in Mexico City on August 17 and will go on public display August 25.
Nearly 84% of Mexicans say they are Catholic, according to the country's 2010 census.
The former pope - who became a saint in May - developed a close bond with Mexican Catholics and travelled to the country on five papal visits. Church officials trumpeted the relics' impending arrival with a statement titled, "John Paul II returns to Mexico."
"Pope John Paul II as much in his words as in his history has always been a pilgrim of peace," said Bishop Victor Rene Rodriguez Gomez, the bishops council's secretary-general. "The visit of the relics will give us a chance to reflect on these ideas."
"It is the moment to pray for peace," he added.
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