Catholic Church leaders in Mexico encouraged the faithful to join in days of prayer for peace during the month of July amid increasing violence

Catholic Church leaders in Mexico encouraged the faithful to join in days of prayer for peace during the month of July amid increasing violence

Leaders of the Catholic Church in Mexico urged the faithful to participate in days of prayer for peace during the month of July as a result of the country’s rising violence and the murder of two Jesuit priests on June 20.

The Mexican Bishops’ Conference, the Conference of Major Superiors of Religious of Mexico, and the Mexican Province of the Society of Jesus said in a joint statement that “the murders and disappearances that are committed daily in the country are a call from God for us to join together to pray for peace.”

“The shed blood of these brothers and sisters is the blood of Jesus that falls to the ground to make it fertile and [encourage us to] embark on a path for peace,” they said.

The bishops, religious superiors, and Jesuit priests asked that “all the priests, religious men and women who have been murdered in the country be remembered” in all Masses on July 10.

In addition, they asked that the intention for those Masses be “for their lives, so that their suffering may accompany us on this path for peace.”

Additionally, they recommended that pictures of the deceased people be displayed in churches during Masses.

The bishops, religious superiors, and Jesuit priests also asked in their joint statement that Masses during July be celebrated and community prayers be held “in significant places that represent all the people who have disappeared or suffered a violent death, be they intentional homicides, femicides, social activists, or any other person in a situation of exclusion or vulnerability.”

“There is a wound to heal and there is the strength that the country needs today to build peace. Remembering the death and resurrection of Jesus in these places will transform fear into the strength to build peace,” they said in the statement.

They also encouraged the faithful that “as a prophetic sign of our Church, in the Eucharist on July 31 we pray for the victimizers, we pray for their lives and the conversion of their hearts, we extend our hand to receive them with a repentant heart into the house of God.”

“They are also our brothers and need our prayers. No more violence in our country,” they exhorted.

Bishops, religious leaders, and Jesuits urged the faithful to promote their initiatives on social media in addition to encouraging each diocese, religious order, and parish to take steps to foster peace, such as holy hours, processions for peace, and messages to God’s people.

“Today we need stories of hope, images where we see the community praying and asking for peace,” they said.

“We entrust ourselves to the Virgin of Guadalupe, who has always accompanied the people of God in the most difficult moments of their history. There is the mother who gives us an embrace of peace and sends us out to be pilgrims of hope and unity,” the statement concluded.

The Catholic Multimedia Center reports that seven priests have been killed in Mexico since President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s six-year tenure began at the end of 2018.

More than 121,000 homicides have been reported in the nation in just three and a half years under the López Obrador government, on pace to surpass the more than 156,000 murders committed during the six-year term of his predecessor, Enrique Pea Nieto.

13,389 killings have taken place in Mexico between January 1 and July 3 of this year, according to official statistics.

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