Peace must be a priority, say Catholic leaders on anniversary of priests’ violent deaths in Mexico

(AP. María Teresa Hernández).

Two years have passed since a leader of one of Mexico’s organized crime gangs stormed into a Catholic church in the remote Tarahumara mountains and fatally shot two Jesuit priests. Among many faith leaders nationwide, the pain unleashed on June 20, 2022 — when the Revs. Javier Campos Morales, 79, and Joaquín César Mora Salazar, 80, were murdered by a local gang leader — has not faded. Nor their quest for peace. “The murders of Fathers Javier and Joaquín has allowed us to redefine the pain that lives in the hearts of many corners of the country,” the Catholic bishops conference of Mexico said in a news release Thursday. “To build a shared movement that has peace as its horizon and the victims of violence as its starting point.” The bells at Jesuit churches and neighboring Catholic parishes tolled for the slain priests on Thursday afternoon. Later, dozens gathered at a church in Mexico City for a Mass in their honor. It was followed by the inauguration of a nearby mural depicting Campos and Mora called “Cerocahui Memory.”

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