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Two Jesuit priests killed in a church in Mexico

A priest blesses the photos of Jesuit priests Javier Campos Morales, left, and Joaquin Cesar Mora Salazar during a Mass to mourn them, at a church in Mexico City, Tuesday, June 21, 2022. The two elderly priests were killed inside a church where a man pursued by gunmen apparently sought refuge in a remote mountainous area of northern Mexico, the religious order’s Mexican branch announced Tuesday.                                        

(AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

Two Jesuit priests, Javier Campos SJ, 79, and Joaquín Mora SJ, 80, were murdered while trying to defend a man who was seeking refuge in the church and who was being pursued by an armed person. Provincial Superior of the Jesuits of Mexico, Father Luis Gerardo Moro Madrid SJ, emphasizes the “deep sorrow and anguish” caused by this tragedy and remarks that this is reflective of the widespread violence in Mexico.

The Jesuits in Mexico are working with the federal and state authorities to ensure the safety of other Jesuit brothers and are invested in demanding a prompt investigation and have asked for all the prayers at this moment.

Luis Orlando Pérez, a Mexican Jesuit in the Copleston House community, in London, shared that the Cerocahui mission, where these two fathers served, is one of the oldest Jesuit missions in Mexico and emphasized how this murder fits into Mexico’s larger violent context.

Superior General of the Jesuits has already condemned this horrendous crime, stating: “I am shocked and saddened by this news. My thoughts and prayers are with the Jesuits in Mexico and the families of the men. We have to stop violence in our world and so much unnecessary suffering”.

Pope Francis has also expressed his “pain and shock over the killing in Mexico of two religious brothers of mine, Jesuits, and one lay person”.

We pray for Javier and Joaquin’s eternal happiness and the safety of the community at their mission station, in solidarity with our brothers in Mexico.