(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis stopped for a moment of silent prayer and blessing Wednesday at Mexico’s border with the United States to recall the dramatic plight of migrants who’ve died or been arrested trying to cross illegally into their northern neighbor. Ciudad Juarez, just across from El Paso, Texas, was the last venue of the Pope’s six day pastoral visit to Mexico.
An industrial city wracked by drug violence, Ciudad Juarez is a popular crossing for Mexicans and Central Americans who try to pass into the U.S. illegally.
Standing in reflection just a stone’s throw away from the Rio Grande which separates Mexico from the U.S., the pontiff laid a wreath and blessed three small crosses which will be sent to the dioceses of El Paso, Ciudad Juarez and Las Cruces, New Mexico. Several pair of shoes of migrants who have died were laid beside them.
Before heading home to Rome, Pope Francis said, "We cannot deny the humanitarian crisis…each step, a journey laden with grave injustices: the enslaved, the imprisoned and extorted; so many of these brothers and sisters of ours are the consequence of trafficking in human beings."
"Injustice is radicalized in the young; they are 'cannon fodder', persecuted and threatened when they try to flee the spiral of violence and the hell of drugs. Then there are the many women unjustly robbed of their lives."