Church remembers two Jesuit priests killed in Mexico
By James Blears - Mexico City
The Church has begun special prayers in Mexico, to honour and revere the memory of two Jesuit priests shot dead on 20 June by drug cartel gunmen.
The priests were trying to protect a tour guide who was also murdered, while trying to assuage and dissipate the wrath of a local narcotics leader.
On Sunday, Jesuits held a poignant moment of silence and contemplation for the elderly priests and the tour guide they had attempted to shield and protect. They were shot dead in church.
“Today we are starting a cycle of prayers for peace at the national level. It is the opening of a month marking the memory of all the people killed and disappeared. Today we are remembering the priests, the journalists, the social activists and the young people who have died violently," said Fr. Jorge Atilano González, SJ at the prayer service near the Stella of Light monument in Mexico City.
Respected and loved priests
The murdered priests were 79-year-old Father Javier Campos, and his colleague and friend, 80-year-old Father Joaquin Mora.
They devoted and dedicated their lives over the decades to ministering to the peoples of the Tarahumara Indigenous Community, who respected and loved them.
The Church says seven priests have been murdered during the tenure of this government, whose administration started in 2018.
There have been 24 other killings of priests during the six years which preceded it.
Calling for prayers amid mayhem of violence
The Mexican Bishops' Conference is calling for prayers on 31 July, asking God for forgiveness and redemption for those who pulled the triggers.
They are also urging for a greater sustained purpose, reinforced by determination to curb the mayhem of violence.
Since the Mexican government declared war on the drug cartels in December 2006, a quarter of a million lives have been claimed.
This drug war continues unabated and with it, the terror which has now become a daily part of everyday life, especially for those who live in the Mexican states bordering the United States.
This location represents the largest transit route for illegal narcotics in the world, raking in more than forty billion dollars annually.