Pope calls on faithful to help migrants achieve ‘new life’


Francis sends letter to Juarez Catholic Diocese reflecting on 2016 visit

Pope Francis waves from the popemobile in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua state, Mexico on February 17, 2016. Throngs gathered at Mexico’s border with the United States on Wednesday for a huge mass with Pope Francis highlighting the plight of migrants — a hot-button issue on the US presidential campaign trail. AFP PHOTO/ Pedro PARDO / AFP / Pedro PARDO (Photo credit should read PEDRO PARDO/AFP via Getty Images)

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.”

Pope Francis thanks the Juarez Catholic Diocese for celebrating the fifth anniversary of his visit to that Mexican border city.

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.

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The mission of BorderReport.com is to provide real-time delivery of the untold local stories about people living, working and migrating along the U.S. border with Mexico. The information is gathered by experienced and trusted Nexstar Media Group journalists hired specifically to cover the border.