The Catholic community remembered those Mexican immigrants who died trying to cross the United States border into Arizona Sunday. About 500 people attended the mass, concelebrated by Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas of Tucson and Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted of Phoenix at the Immaculate Heart Catholic Church in downtown Phoenix.
The mass, celebrated almost entirely in Spanish, included a memorial, made up of white crosses, candles and roses. The names of the deceased Mexican immigrants were read aloud at the end of the mass, reported the Arizona Republic.
The country’s largest Latino rights group, La Raza, reports that more than 40 people died near the Arizona-Mexico border since Oct. 1, 2003.
"We have a responsibility to other people," Bishop Kicanas told the assembly during the 90-minute mass, reported the Arizona Republic. "We will not stand idly by while brothers and sisters die crossing the desert. We will not let borders divide us.”
The mass coincided with La Raza’s national conference in Pheonix, which included panels, discussions and summits about important Hispanic issues. Organizers expect about 23,000 people will have attended the conference by the time it closes today.
Democratic Senator John Kerry is tentatively set to speak today at 1 p.m., during the Latino Community Town Hall.