Leon Archbishop Jose Guadalupe Martin Rabago called on organized crime groups to ensure there is peace during Pope Benedict XVI's March 23-26 visit to Mexico.

The archbishop said in a press conference Sunday that he was asking criminal organizations to observe a cease-fire during the papal visit "in the name of all of Mexico."

"To those who do evil, if my word reaches them in some way, tell them to take into account that the time we are going to experience is one of peace and grace," the archbishop said.

Criminals "in the end are human beings" and will hopefully "avoid doing anything that will give us an experience of pain and death," Martin Rabago said.

To those who do evil, if my word reaches them in some way, tell them to take into account that the time we are going to experience is one of peace and grace.

- Leon Archbishop Jose Guadalupe Martin Rabago

Officials should provide security so people can travel on highways in peace, the archbishop said.

Pope Benedict is scheduled to stay at Leon's Colegio Miraflores during his visit to Mexico.

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On March 25, the pontiff is slated to meet with Mexican and Latin American bishops at the Leon cathedral.

Facilities at Guanajuato Bicentenario Park, where Benedict XVI will celebrate Mass in the morning on March 25, should be ready by the first week of March, Martin Rabago said.

The outdoor venue will accommodate about 750,000 people, who will need a ticket to enter.

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Young people from the Queretaro, Celaya, Irapuato and Leon dioceses will form a human wall along the route that the pope's vehicle will travel.

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