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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

November 15, 2009

Misa, 11:30 am, Sta Elena

Following the Mass 55 people, both young and old, stayed to share their stories of the recent situation in Juárez. Violence - fear - paralyzed - need to pray - were what we heard.
Pancho challenged them to be active, keep hope even if they might be killed for their dreams.
Two youths spoke of personal experiences of violence. Several women also shared experiences with tears in their eyes. One 12-year old youth shared how he was affected by what happened when he was detained by the military. A university professor repeated what Lorenzo said about individual leadership needed, and urged them to hold on to their dreams. A different youth said laws are lenient for minors. Courts give limited sentences and they return to society even more violent than before. Another youth told us that two young hit men from two different gangs were at a social event. They were asked, “How can you be social with an opposing gang member? One replied in an indifferent manner, “It’s not a problem. Here I can socialize and the other is my job. The same person added that young people fail to recognize killing causes extreme grief, that impacts the family permanently, suddenly there is no income just loss of a loved one. One mother noted that Forbes Magazine lists Mexicans Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán (leader of the Sinaloa drug cartel) and Carlos Slim among the richest people in the world. Her concern is that young people look to them as models. Pancho said that youth need to be respected and encouraged to get an education where they will learn good moral values.

And so we have come to realize the situation here is very complex, yet leaders are being called forth to lead organizations to change the violent atmosphere. We were especially challenged by one man to pray for our enemies, the drug lords, the corrupt government, the military and the police. We left feeling that in spite of all the difficulties, suffering, the people have maintained hope.

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