Church leaders in Mexico call for days of prayer for peace amid increasing violence

Guadalupe Credit: David Ramos / ACI Prensa

With the growing violence in the country and the murder of two Jesuit priests on June 20, Catholic Church leaders in Mexico encouraged the faithful to join in days of prayer for peace during the month of July.

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.”

They also suggested that photographs of the men and women who died be placed in the churches at the 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.

In addition to encouraging each diocese, religious congregation, and parish to undertake actions to pave the way for peace, such as holy hours, processions for peace, messages to the people of God, the bishops, religious superiors, and Jesuits encouraged the faithful to publicize their activities on social media.

“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.

According to the Catholic Multimedia Center, since President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s six-year term began at the end of 2018, seven priests have been murdered in Mexico.

In just three and a half years of the López Obrador administration, more than 121,000 homicides have been recorded in the country, which is on track to exceed the more than 156,000 murders committed during the six-year term of his predecessor, Enrique Peña Nieto.

According to official figures, from Jan. 1 to July 3 of this year 13,389 homicides have occurred in Mexico.

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

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