Mexico's Violence Countered By Mothers' Faith

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World View Wednesdays

Recent violence in Mexico has taken the lives of thousands of people, mostly young men and women. Many mothers fear retaliation if they speak up. In Acapulco, one of the cities hit hardest by the violence, the Church is the only place where they feel safe sharing their grief.

The Catholic Church is leading social transformation initiatives to eradicate violence in Mexico. Catholic Relief Services is working with Caritas Mexico to develop peacebuilding initiatives to prevent and address violence. These projects—listening centers established in parishes with high rates of violence—provide spiritual, psychosocial and legal advice to women and families whose lives have been torn by the loss of a son or daughter.

Acapulco has more than a dozen listening centers. Mothers who have lost children to violence are invited to the centers by catechists who accompany them through the mourning process. The centers are staffed by social workers and psychologists who have completed a certification program in peacebuilding, sponsored by CRS, at the University Loyola del Pacífico.

These mothers agreed to talk about their experiences on the condition that their identities would be concealed.

In this center I've found peace and tranquility; I've found help. I've learned how to pray and how to forgive all human beings—those who are at fault and those who are not—because we are not the ones to judge. This pain is too strong, too difficult to overcome alone. But I feel at peace, finally. Photo by Oscar Leiva/Silverlight for CRS

In this center I’ve found peace and tranquility; I’ve found help. I’ve learned how to pray and how to forgive all human beings—those who are at fault and those who are not—because we are not the ones to judge. This pain is too strong, too difficult to overcome alone. But I feel at peace, finally. Photo by Oscar Leiva/Silverlight for CRS

We all should have faith in something. I'm taking refuge in what is good, in my faith, so I can do away with the negativity, the bad thoughts and don't contribute to the violence. I don't want revenge—because if I do so, I would be generating more violence. Photo by Oscar Leiva/Silverlight for CRS

We all should have faith in something. I’m taking refuge in what is good, in my faith, so I can do away with the negativity, the bad thoughts and don’t contribute to the violence. I don’t want revenge—because if I do so, I would be generating more violence. Photo by Oscar Leiva/Silverlight for CRS

Father says Mass every fourth Sunday of the month for those who have been killed. We bring the pictures of our sons, and he says the noon Mass for them. Unfortunately, this situation of violence is taking away many innocent people. I don't know when this injustice will stop. Photo by Oscar Leiva/Silverlight for CRS

Father says Mass every fourth Sunday of the month for those who have been killed. We bring the pictures of our sons, and he says the noon Mass for them. Unfortunately, this situation of violence is taking away many innocent people. I don’t know when this injustice will stop. Photo by Oscar Leiva/Silverlight for CRS

When someone tells you 'your son has been killed,' it's horrific; you just want to die. I wanted to die. The catechists invite us to come to Church. They care for us when we're in pain, they advise us, support us, give us courage and they listen. Photo by Oscar Leiva/Silverlight for CRS

When someone tells you ‘your son has been killed,’ it’s horrific; you just want to die. I wanted to die. The catechists invite us to come to Church. They care for us when we’re in pain, they advise us, support us, give us courage and they listen. Photo by Oscar Leiva/Silverlight for CRS

I used to say that won't happen to me because I'm not doing anything evil; my family is not doing anything evil. But unfortunately it's not because you are doing anything evil or anything good. It just happens. Here I no longer feel that heartbreaking pain. I can keep on going; I can help myself by holding hands with others who have been through the same thing." Photo by Oscar Leiva/Silverlight for CRS

I used to say that won’t happen to me because I’m not doing anything evil; my family is not doing anything evil. But unfortunately it’s not because you are doing anything evil or anything good. It just happens. Here I no longer feel that heartbreaking pain. I can keep on going; I can help myself by holding hands with others who have been through the same thing.” Photo by Oscar Leiva/Silverlight for CRS

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Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. We are the official overseas relief and development agency of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and a member of Caritas International and the National Catholic Development Conference. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google Plus and Pinterest.

6 Comments

  1. I thank God every day that I was not born in a corrupt, violent and hopeless place like Mexico.

    Not sure how we could help them since their entire government and police are bad people.

    • Marge i’m sorry you feel that way. I was born there and i couldn’t be prouder. Being born in a country where Our blessed Lady blessed with Her true presense. The miracle of the tilma continues to this day! The tilma itself should not have lasted more than 30years let alone the image. But yet here we are some 500 years later and it is still here. I feel proud of my Mexican roots. I feel proud to come from a country whose majority are hard working people trying their best to get ahead with what little they have to work with. Yes there are awful things going on there and people whose heart is turned away from God and hardened by their own wounds. Id say that could be said of any country.
      Please pray for my country. Pray for the conversion of all who cause harm of any degree. That my friend is something very powerful that You can do. Thank you and may God abundantly bless you and yours.
      These women are brave! God bless Mexico! God bless and heal each one of my Mexican brother’s and sister’s! God bless and have mercy on ALL of us!!

  2. Thank you for sharing these heart-wrenching photos and quotes. We truly need to be in daily prayer through the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe for Mexico’s families… for their health, safety, and peace. Thank you for keeping this situation in front of us to remind us to be in prayer.

  3. Yes! My hope is one day to take my son and husband so they can see the beauty Mexico has to offer. I will surely keep them in my prayers.

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