The parish of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, located in El Porvenir, a town about 62 miles from the city of Juarez, Mexico, was attacked by unidentified arsonists in plain sight of parishioners whose faces displayed “helplessness” as they struggled to control the flames.
According to the Bulletin of the Council of Catholic Analysts in Mexico, the parish priest, Fr. Salvador Salgado Murguia said that with much “toil, sweat, and tears, parishioners were able to control the flames that were ignited when masked gunmen sprayed the doors to the parish with gasoline.”
“The main door to the church was reduced to a pile of embers. Fortunately, there were no injuries,” Fr. Salgado Murguia added. “The attack on the church damaged parts of the choir and vestibule,” but also has harmed the Catholic community, whose members' “faces displayed utter helplessness.”
The pastor went on to explain that this tragedy was the straw that broke the camel’s back for many parishioners. The faithful of the area have come to him with “sadness, saying that because they have seen their parish burned, they are leaving. “They don’t want to stay and risk becoming victims again if their homes are burned by delinquents,” he explained.
Fr. Salgado Murguia also remarked that local authorities have done little to nothing in the week since the event. He cited the “constant violence of the criminal organizations and their accomplices who work under the broad light of inefficiency of the agencies in charge of national security.”
Recently, the Mexican newspaper, La Jornada, indicated that criminal groups in that area “have already killed more than 80 people this year, burned 16 houses, and distributed messages on blankets or pieces of cardboard warning the local residents “ to leave the area.