Bishop calls for intense day of prayer and fasting for end of violence in Mexico

Eucharistic adoration Credit: Loves the other way around / Cathopic

Cristóbal Ascencio García, the bishop of Apatzingán, located in one of the regions most affected by violence in the Mexican state of Michoacán, called for an “intense” day of fasting and prayer on Oct. 5 for peace in the country.

In a Sept. 30 statement posted on Facebook, Ascencio encouraged dedicating that day of prayer to “begging the Lord for the conversion of all for peace in justice.”

Apatzingán, a city located about 115 miles southwest of Morelia, the capital of the state of Michoacán, is one of the hardest hit by drug trafficking violence in the region, whose control is disputed by groups such as the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, the Family Michoacana, and the Knights Templar.

Of the 50 most violent cities in the world in 2022, ranked by the Mexican organization Citizen Council for Public Safety and Criminal Justice, 17 are in Mexico. Nine are in the top 10. Thirty of the 50 cities are in Latin America or the Caribbean.

Zamora, the second most violent city in the world according to the ranking, is located just 100 miles north of Apatzingán. Uruapan, which is ranked seventh, is located about 65 miles to the northeast. Morelia ranks 33rd.

The report only tracks the number of murders in proportion to population and not other violent crimes. Five U.S. cities also made the list: New Orleans (eighth), Baltimore (17th), Detroit (23rd), Memphis (25th), and Clevleand (27th).

Moved by the situation in the region, in April 2021 the then-apostolic nuncio in Mexico, Archbishop Franco Coppola, traveled to the Diocese of Apatzingán and met with the faithful to encourage them in the midst of their trials.

In his call for the day of fasting and prayer, the bishop of Apatzingán asked the priests “to expose the Blessed Sacrament throughout that day in all the parish churches and if they deem it appropriate, in some other chapel.”

Thus the faithful will be able to be “in continuous worship that entire day, asking the Lord Jesus Christ for peace and security for our long-suffering and beloved Diocese of Apatzingán and other places that suffer violence and the loss of their loved ones,” the bishop said.

“Brothers, let us make this an intense day of fasting and prayer, trusting in the Master Jesus, who said: ‘Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.’” (Mt 18:19).

“We have just celebrated the feast of St. Michael the Archangel, to whom I have entrusted my diocese, so that here and everywhere, it may become a reality: ‘Who is like God? No one is like God!’, so that we do not lose hope that ‘good will triumph over evil,’ because victory belongs to him who is our peace, Jesus Christ the Lord,” he said.

The bishop of Apatzingán also assured that the Virgin Mary, under her title of Our Lady of Acahuato, venerated in a special way in that diocese, “prays with us and for us. She will be saying to her son: ‘Son, they have no peace ... Look how your brothers are suffering.'”

At the conclusion of his message, Ascencio implored: “Holy Mary, Our Lady of Acahuato, pray for us!”

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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