Mass for illegal migrants who died trying to cross US-Mexican border

 A Mass was celebrated on Sunday in Juarez City, on both sides of the US border near Juarex City in memory of the 337 illegal immigrants known to have died this year in their attempt to cross the border into the United States.

The majority of these immigrants lost their lives in the desert, dying of thirst, extreme cold temperatures, or from violence they have suffered.

This Mass has been celebrated every year for 13 years now, on the feast of All Souls.

The ceremony was bi-lingual and and attended by five bishops and over 40 priests, who gathered along the metal barrier that separates Mexico from the United States, said Bishop Renato Ascencio Leon of Juarez City.

Among the Bishops present were also Bishop Gerardo Rojas, of Nuevo Casas Grandes, Chihuahua, Auxiliary Bishop José Guadalupe Torres Campos of Juárez City, and participating from the other side of the barrier were Bishop Armando Ochoa of El Paso, Texas, and Bishop Ricardo Ramírez of Las Cruces, New Mexico. Tables were placed on either side of the border to form one altar.

On both the Mexican and US sides of the border, hundreds of Catholics gathered along the barrier.

According to the Bishop of Juarez City: "the number of deaths continues to increase due to the highly sophisticated surveillance systems used by US authorities, as well as from the barriers that force immigrants to take routes that are farther away and more dangerous."

He also announced that the Bishops of Mexico and the US have written a Pastoral Letter on immigration, entitled: "Strangers No Longer: Together on the Journey of Hope," in which they express the fact that "immigrants are in search of a better life for themselves and for their families, which leads them to risk all they have in trying to enter other countries, even when faced with death."

During the Mass, the Bishops and priests invited those present to make a commitment to fight for justice, dignity, values, and above all, for the lives of those men and women who leave their countries in search of a better life.

Source: Fides

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