CIUDAD JUAREZ, Chihuahua — Making a cross gesture with his hand, Pope Francis I stood on the Mexican side of the border and blessed about 200 individuals gathered on the American side of the border who have been described as refugees.
While standing at the border, Pope Francis prayed over a series of crosses that had been placed there to represent the immigrants who have died on their journey into the United States. Right after praying for them, the pope placed flowers over the crosses before heading back to the Popemobile. He then made his way to the area known as “El Punto” or “The Spot” for the final part of his visit to this city where he held a Mass along the border. During that Mass, Pope Francis called out the raging drug violence and the murder of innocent women that have become synonymous with Ciudad Juarez’s past.
“Lord have mercy on us,” Pope Francis said.
The Mass held at the stadium and open park area near the border was the culmination of a journey filled with harsh criticism towards corrupt Mexican politicians, drug lords and many other injustices affecting Mexico. The border Mass took a different approach when it tackled the topic of immigration one that is of great significance to Ciudad Juarez and its sister city El Paso, Texas.
“He has been delivering hard messages throughout his journey, however I believe that this one will be the strongest message to date,” Brother Mario Dominique said to Breitbart Texas on Wednesday moments before the Mass was set to begin. “He has been speaking out against violence, injustice and on behalf of the plight of the migrants; but this one should be his strongest message.”
According to Dominique who travelled from Saltillo, Coahuila, to be in attendance at the Mass, in his capacity of God’s Messenger on Earth, the pontiff’s pro-activeness is something that the public has taken to heart during some very difficult times.
During the border Mass, the scripture focused on the tale of Jonas and Nineveh, a city that the pope described as “destroying itself with violence, degradation and injustice.”
During his message, Pope Francis I hinted at the similarities between Nineveh and Ciudad Juarez.
“The only thing that it was creating was death and destruction,” the Holy Father said. “They have become accustomed to such degradation that they have lost the sensibility to human suffering; a people drunk on themselves.”
Just like Nineveh was able to change its ways, Pope Francis called for border cities where organized crime has such a strong sway to change their ways and become merciful.
“This is the voice that screams out in the desert and invites us to convert,” he said. “I implore for divine mercy to bring the gift of tears and the gift of conversion.”
Ciudad Juarez is one of the cities that has thousands of migrants from Central America as well as Mexicans who are looking for a way into America.
“A way filled with terrible injustice, they are enslaved and tortured … many fall prey to human trafficking,” Pope Francis said. “We can not ignore the the humanitarian crisis that has brought the forced migration of thousands of persons.”
The human tragedy can be measured in figures but we want to measure it in names and faces, the pope said.
“They are propelled by violence, drug trafficking and organized crime; also by laws that trap and bring suffering to the most poor and vulnerable,” he said.
Young men become cannon fodder for drug cartels and become victims if they try to leave that cycle of violence, the pontiff added, “So many women whose lives have been taken unjustly, we ask for the gift of conversion.”