ROME — Pope Francis will soon begin his Feb. 12-18 foray to Mexico, and in his own words, he’s going as “an instrument of peace” to encourage Mexicans to work with him in the fight against corruption, human trafficking, and drug dealing.

Mexico is living its own “bit of war”, Francis said on Wednesday.

“If I go there, it’s to get the best of you and to pray with you, so that the problems of violence, corruption and all that you know is happening, is resolved,” the pope said.

“The Mexico of violence, the Mexico of corruption, the Mexico of drug trafficking, the Mexico of cartels, is not the Mexico our Mother wants,” he said, referring to popular devotion to Mary as Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Francis warned, however, that he cannot bring peace by himself to the country, where 100,000 people have lost their lives in a decade-long drug war.

The pope said peace is a “craft work” that can only be built through dialogue, while acknowledging some might argue it’s impossible to talk with a criminal.

“That’s true,” Francis said. “But I can tell you who can change the heart of that offender: We have the same mother,” referring again to Our Lady of Guadalupe.

The pope encouraged Mexicans to tell her: “Look, if you told me that I should not be afraid because you are my mother, you who are my mother, fix that.”

Francis’ words came in response to questions posed in video form by 33 Mexicans, 16 women and 17 men, who asked the pope how he can help solve the problems of violence the country suffers.

In a televised exchange organized by the Mexican news agency Notimex, they also asked the pope to share his thoughts regarding the Virgin of Guadalupe, as well as what he’s bringing to Mexico and what he expects from the locals.

Francis replied that he’s not “a Wise Man” bearing gifts, messages, ideas, and solutions to problems.

“I’m going to Mexico as a pilgrim,” Francis said.

“I will look at the Mexican people to give me something,” he added, joking that he wasn’t going to “pass a little basket” for collection. “I will seek the wealth of faith that you have.”

Talking about Our Lady of Guadalupe, believed to have appeared to a local Indian, Juan Diego, on Dec. 12, 1531, Francis said she gives him a sense of safety.

“When I’m afraid over some problem or because something ugly happened and I don’t know how to react, I pray to her,” Francis told the Mexicans from the Santa Marta, the hotel within Vatican grounds where he lives.

“I like to repeat myself: ‘Don’t be afraid, am I not here who am your mother?’”

The pontiff also said that he expects Mexicans to bring their faith to their daily lives.

“That faith has to go out on the street means that in my workplace, with my family, in the things I do in college, at school, I can show that I’m a Christian,” the pope said.

Francis’ trip to Mexico will be his 12th foreign trip since the beginning of his pontificate in March 2013. This will be his fourth visit to the Americas, after a visit to Brazil; a tour that combined Ecuador, Bolivia, and Paraguay, and his outing to Cuba and the United States last September.

Although he’s said he wants to go to the “peripheries” and visit cities no pope has visited, the five-day long visit will be centered in the capital, where he’ll celebrate a Mass in the shrine of the “Guadalupana.”

Also known as the “Virgen Morena” (brown skinned Virgin) who watches over America, from Canada to Argentina, nowhere is she venerated as in Mexico. As Francis said in his interview, even those who claim not to be Catholics [15 percent of the total population], are “Guadalupan.”

The pope’s Mexican tour will also include day trips to southern state Chiapas, on the border with Guatemala, one of the country’s poorest areas and home to a large indigenous population, followed by Morelia, the capital of Michoacan state and a hotspot of Mexico’s drug conflict.

The last stop of the trip will be Ciudad Juarez, border city to El Paso in Texas. There he’ll celebrate a Mass in a large field with a capacity for 220,000 people. Before the celebration begins, however, he’s set to pray with a group of immigrants, some of them undocumented, gathered just 65 feet away on the US side of the divide.