“The people of God in Juárez continue to strongly support our weekly Mass for Peace, celebrated in the traffic circle that we now think of as ours,” Fr. Kevin Mullins wrote recently. Fr. Kevin is a Columban Father in the parish of Corpus Christi. “They spill out into the streets and create a massive presence in spite of the 104-degree heat and the threat of thunderstorms.”
People normally endure the hottest temperatures of the year during June and July in this arid area on the border between the U.S. and Mexico. The Parish of Corpus Christi is on the edge of the city, in the sector, or colonia, called Anapra.
Fr. Mullins and other priests and parishioners walked once again in procession through the streets last week, catching the attention of passing patrols of the Federal Police and military convoys in this fortified city. “They kept a close eye on us, monitoring our movements,” Fr. Kevin adds, “and somehow they always seem surprised to see us out on the streets, praying and singing.”
The numbers of local residents that join in these activities increase weekly. Members of the Parish Council of Corpus Christi think that one explanation for the large crowds may be that many people anxiously desire to do something in response to the generalized atmosphere of extreme violence, and find this weekly Eucharistic event “to be an avenue of participation and positive behavior in the midst of the gore and violence of life in Ciudad Juarez,” Fr. Kevin writes.
Gunmen executed a total of thirty people over this last weekend, one of the most violent periods that Juarez has experienced in years, according to local news sources. People in Juarez are constant witnesses to the level of violence usually associated with all-out war, but were still shaken by a discovery on Sunday in the nearby city of Chihuahua. Police found three bodies in the back of a pickup, scarred by torture: a 10-year-old boy and his grandparents.
“May the Lord receive them all in His Kingdom of Light and Peace,” Fr. Kevin said, “and may the perpetrators stop their cruelties, seek forgiveness of the Lord and respond to the demands of Civil Justice.”