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EL PASO (CBSDFW.COM) – A cross border prayer service took place today near El Paso in anticipation Pope Francis’ visit this week to Mexico.

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Families living on both sides of the border visited with each other through a chain linked fence, and read a letter they hope to send to the pontiff.

CBS11 spoke to a man named Sergio Juarez who lives in Fort Worth, but whose family stayed in Juarez.

“I’m happy to see them. It’s been a long time that I haven’t seen them,” he said. “It’s difficult, because I don’t get to see much my dad.”

Juarez joined the scores of Texas families who enjoyed a folkloric exhibition with drums and dancing while visiting with loved ones.

Divided by the border, the many families expressed hopes of peace and even a solution to the immigration issue.

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“We hope he brings us peace,” said Juarez’s Aunt Gloria Rivas of the pope.

Illegal immigration is perhaps the most staunchly debated issue along this border.
Immigrants who have made it to Texas and those who still wish also hope the pontiff’s words may propel a solution to their problem.

“We hope things get fixed so that we can be with our family,” said Rivas, who prays for the day she can reunite with her family on U.S. soil.

Preparations are complete for the Pope’s arrival in Juarez in less than a week.

Thousands of volunteers will help in hopes of making the event run smoothly.

The pope’s newly-built alter and a blessing ramp are ready. He will use that ramp to walk right up to the border and offer a blessing to Texans.

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