Two priests murdered in Mexico
Please keep them in your prayers
One day after they were kidnapped from their parish, Mexican priests Alejo Nabor Jiménez Juárez and José Alfredo Suárez de la Cruz were found murdered in a field.
“We extend our pain and indignation at the violence exercised against them,” the bishops’ conference said.
“In these moment of pain, impotence and tragedy provoked by violence, we raise our prayers to the heavens for the eternal rest of these our brothers, and implore the Lord for the conversion of their aggressors,” the statement continued. “From the authorities we await an investigation to clear up what happened and the enforcement of justice against those responsible.”
“We pray to the Lord that he blesses our beloved homeland, and we ask for the intercession of Blessed Mary of Guadalupe, Queen of Peace, that united we search for integrity and the progress of our people,” the statement closed.
The Diocese of Papantla also offered its prayers “for the eternal rest of their souls and that we may be united in prayer as a Church, so that Christ the King of Peace may bring harmony to our homeland.”
The two priests were kidnapped Sept. 18 from Our Lady of Fatima Parish in the city of Poza Rica, a town located in the north of the Mexican Gulf state of Veracruz. The bodies of the two priests were found the following day in a field in the nearby city of Papantla.
A third man, identified by Veracruz authorities, was kidnapped alongside the two priests, but escaped and was found alive. Veracruz officials said that he had been placed under protection.
Poza Rica and surrounding areas in Veracruz have been the locus of drug and associated cartel violence for years, but it is yet unclear why the priests were targeted. Priests have also been the target of violence elsewhere in Mexico.
Two priests kidnapped in Mexico found dead 24 hours later21 September 2016 | by Catholic News Service
The death toll of prelates murdered in Mexico is now 14 in less than four years
Two priests were kidnapped and killed in the Mexican state of Veracruz, raising the death toll of prelates murdered in Mexico to 14 in less than four years.
Father Alejo Nabor Jimenez Juarez and Father Jose Alfredo Juarez de la Cruz were dragged at gunpoint out of Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Poza Rica, a Gulf Coast oil city consumed by crime in recent years, the Diocese of Papantla confirmed in a statement.
Media reported the men were found Sept. 19, one day after their abduction, along the side of a highway with their hands and feet bound. They were beaten and had gunshot wounds, according to media reports.
A driver employed by the parish also was abducted, Mexican media reported, but was found unharmed.
State officials said Sept. 20 that five men participated in the abductions and one of the suspect's identities was known. Robbery of a church building fund was cited as a motive, Veracruz media outlet Plumas Libres reported.
"In these moments of pain, impotence and tragedy provoked by violence, we raise our prayers to the heavens for the eternal rest of our brothers and implore to the Lord the conversion of the aggressors. Of the authorities, we await the clarification of the acts and the application of those responsible," the Mexican bishops' conference said in a statement.
Violence has struck Veracruz clergy previously. In 2013, two priests in the Diocese of Tuxpan were murdered in their parish.
PICTURE: Women light candles in Our Lady of Fatima Church in Poza Rica, Veracruz state, Mexico, on Tuesday. Two of the church's priests were found dead on Monday