Bishop Eugenio Andres Lira Rugarcia told ACI Prensa, CNA's Spanish language sister agency: “I had the opportunity personally to talk with her and I can say I was edified by her witness.”
“She's a woman of faith who indeed bears witness that that faith is making it possible for her to face this with Christian hope,” he said.
“She told me about the very painful, difficult moments she has gone through. But how, thanks be to God, she has sought in prayer consolation, light, and strength and I tell you that for me, talking to her has been a great witness, a witness of faith,” Bishop Lira added.
Matamoros, across the Rio Grande from Brownsville, Texas, in Mexico's Tamaulipas state, is among the major transit areas for migrants seeking to enter the US.
Tamaulipas is one of Mexico's most violent states, but Bishop Lira emphasized that nevertheless, the faithful of the Matamoros diocese have not stopped showing their solidarity with the migrants.
The prelate thanked the “good example and witness of good people who even in the most difficult moments of violence in this area risked their lives, held out a hand to the migrants and continue to do so. Thanks be to God, the violence has decreased – not so much in Reynosa – but it has in the other eight districts that make up the Diocese of Matamoros.”
The Bishop of Matamoros said that the deaths of Óscar and Valeria “needs to lead us all to reflect: we're talking about human lives, about people, not numbers. About people with their story, with their dreams, their hopes.”
“This shows us the human face of the migrant,” he said.
“Something very important is to discover in the phenomenon of migration names and faces … because if not, we can sometimes just dwell on statistics, on cold numbers. And in reality, it's about people, each person with their own identity, their needs,” Bishop Lira stated.
Migrants, he said, are people who are trying to “seek something better for themselves or for their family. And they are willing to leave their land, their home, and set out on a quite dangerous adventure.”
Bishop Lira encouraged migrants to discover that “in the journey they have followed since they left their homes until the present, as well as the rest of their lives, God has always walked with them. He always walks with us, he does not leave us alone. And in those most difficult times he reaches out a hand to us, even through the people round about us.”
“I would ask you always to look at things through the eyes of faith, of the hope that does not disappoint, above all the great hope of the eternity that awaits us,” he said.
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He asked the rest of society “to be aware of what kind of world we are building, and for every one of us to try to do our part in building a culture and a society that is able to recognize, respect, promote and defend life, the dignity and rights and also the duties of all people, without excluding anyone.”
“We need this so no one finds himself forced to leave his own land because of economic necessities or because of violence or damage to the environment, and so he can find in his own place what is necessary for his development. And in the event he makes the decision to migrate that he can do so with all the conditions that his human dignity and rights deserve,” Bishop Lira said.