The Mexican Bishops’ Conference (CEM) released a new video message expressing its concern that “we live surrounded by violence” in the country and calling for a national day of prayer for education and peace at all Masses on Sunday, Aug. 20.

Since President Andrés Manuel López Obrador took office on Dec. 1, 2018, 131,507 first-degree murders have been recorded in Mexico to date, according to data from the Ministry of Security and Citizen Protection.

One of the emblematic cases of violence in recent weeks was the murder of Milagros, a young woman who was stabbed to death by an assailant for not handing over her money. Other notable and recent cases, which the CEM summarizes in the video, are that of the parents who beat a teacher for scolding their son and that of a man who savagely attacked a Subway employee because he wanted quick service and the employee asked him to stand in line.

However, for the Mexican bishops, this reality can be changed through education, especially in the family.

“It’s important to strengthen love and to help heal wounds, recognizing that overcoming violence will only be possible with the skillful use of tools that are obtained through prayer and education that enable us to speak a language of peace,” the video message says.

“We invite all parishes and lay movements to join in the eucharistic celebrations to the monthly prayer day of prayer asking God that we may educate and think for peace,” the message adds.

The monthly day of prayer was initiated as a result of the murder of two Jesuit priests in June 2022 and is part of the Catholic Church’s strategy to mitigate violence.

In addition to this initiative, the Church in Mexico carries out other projects to promote peace, including conversations on justice and security with various social, political, and economic actors trying to identify the needs of the country. 

These meetings are intended to lead to the creation of a National Peace Network that links together the various actors involved, strengthens local capabilities, and puts together a national agenda to improve the justice system and public safety.

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