Some 600 people attended the groundbreaking services, held at the temple site behind a beachfront area outside the city. Elder Pratt was accompanied by Elders Octaviano Tenorio, an Area Authority Seventy and second counselor in the area presidency, and Elders Gustavo Ramos and Adolfo Avalos, also Area Authority Seventies.
Stake and ward leaders from the eight stakes in the temple district attended with their families on the bright, sunny morning of the groundbreaking. The choir of the Veracruz Mocambo stake performed under the direction of Jose de la Rosa Dolana Azcorra.
Elder Pratt was joined in the symbolic shovel-turning ceremony by Elder Tenorio and presidents of four Veracruz stakes: Presidents Mauricio Morales Lagunes, Rafael Gonzalez Monter, Marco Antonio Carillo Bogard and Mauricio Morales Castillo.
The Veracruz temple, located in an important seaport that dates back to the 16th century, was announced April 14, 1999. It is the 10th temple announced for Mexico and the 8th for which groundbreakings have been held.
In his remarks, Elder Pratt spoke of the early members in Veracruz, who understood the importance of the temple and sacrificed to travel to the Arizona Temple in Mesa. Their sacrifice helped prepare the members here for this day, he said.
Elder Pratt asked that in preparation for the new temple that members travel more frequently to the Mexico City Temple, to increase their family history work and to add to the number of people with temple blessings.
"We are in the true Church," he said. "We are preparing the earth for the Second Coming, and with the temple we will be better prepared to do so."
Citing the scripture, Moses 1:39, Elder Tenorio discussed the principle of eternal life. He said because of the temple the way to gain eternal life is opened. He added that families are of great importance. "The Lord has established [families] for the happiness of His children. They will be able to endure through the eternities through the ordinances of the temple, if they are sealed."
Elder Avalos recalled being a missionary in Veracruz when there were just six missionaries here. He confirmed that a important factor in the growth of the Church was the strengthening of the members who began to take excursions to the Arizona Temple.
These trips required great sacrifices, but these sacrifices were made with the kind of attitudes that secured the blessings of the Lord.
Also speaking at the ceremony were Adolfo Galicia Rangel, patriarch and longtime member; and Adela Barraza Velasco, baptized in Veracruz in 1956, and among the first 100 local members of the Church.