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Pope Benedict XVI greeted with warmth, sombrero in Silao

Yuri Cortez / AFP - Getty Images

Wearing a large brim traditional Mexican hat, Pope Benedict XVI waves at the crowd upon arriving at Bicentennial Park in Silao, Guanajuato State, Mexico on March 25.

Dario Lopez-Mills / AP

Pilgrims cheer and sing as they wait at the site where Pope Benedict XVI will give a Mass in Bicentennial Park near Silao, Mexico.

Pope Benedict XVI rode in the popemobile through an enthusiastic crowd in Silao, Mexico en route to the Mass at Bicentennial Park. One person handed the pope a broad-brimmed Mexican sombrero that he wore on his way to the altar at the sun-drenched park.

Many Mexicans said they were surprised by the warmth of Benedict, whose image is more reserved and academic than his popular predecessor, John Paul II, who was dubbed "Mexico's pope."

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--Msnbc.com wire services contributed to this post

Alberto Pizzoli / AFP - Getty Images

Pope Benedict XVI is helped with a large brim traditional Mexican hat, as a crowd greetes him on his arrival at Bicentennial Park in Silao, Mexico.

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