EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Pope Francis has sent a letter to the bishop of Juarez, reminiscing about his trip to that Mexican border city five years ago.
“I keep alive the memory of my visit to (your) border city and the celebration of the Eucharist,” Francis said in his letter to Juarez Bishop Jose Guadalupe Torres Campos.
The pope alluded to Juarez being a crossroads of cultures as well as a place where people live unfortunate dramas and “great injustices.” The latter was an apparent reference to the public safety crisis the city has endured since the drug cartel wars that started in the mid-2000s and haven’t stopped.
Francis emphasized the need to help and speak up on behalf of those fleeing hunger, poverty and wars in their own countries.
“They are (our) brothers and sisters that have gone on the road […] in search of hope and a new life that we cannot take away from them, but instead work with them to achieve it.”
Francis visited Juarez on Feb. 17, 2016. The diocese sent him a letter expressing the intent to mark the anniversary, which prompted the response from Francis.
The Rev. Luis Maldonado, a host of Radio Guadalupana, the diocese’s AM radio station, said many border residents remember the visit.
“Everyone lined the streets, the parking lot of the soccer stadium all the way to the Juarez Fairgrounds was packed with people,” Maldonado said on Facebook Live. “He had a beautiful message for all of us. […] It was an unforgettable experience for all of those who were there.”
Francis visited the Cereso prison and held Mass before thousands of Catholic faithful in an open stage that’s still standing near the Fairgrounds.