Today, students from California State University Hayward joined us in remembering a man who lost his life trying to fulfill his dream of a better life for his family. His remains were found, in December of last year, near the Huachuca Mountains, which he probably traversed for many days.
We prayed for his eternal rest and for consolation and peace for his family who do not know where he is. May God have mercy on their aching hearts.
Article from Sierra Vista Herald Review by Emily Ellis:
Local group honors the lives of deceased migrants in Cochise County
The deaths of migrants in Cochise County continue. The remains of this unidentified man were found in an arroyo near the town of Benson, AZ. this past November. He was heading through the Dragoon Mountains to the Whetstone Mountains on his way to being reunited with his family. Now his family lives every day with the burden of NOT KNOWING where he is…
May God have mercy on our country who so indifferently condemns men and women to death for the unforgivable sin of pursuing a better future for their children.
DESCONOCIDO was read at our prayer today: DESCONOCIDO Perry Nigh
Today we remembered a woman, MARIA GRACIELA HERNANDEZ ESCOBEDO, probably a mother and maybe a grandmother, who now is enjoying full life with God. Those of us who gathered in the Mule Mountains, also remembered another woman, MARIA THERESA GERHARDINGER, who spent her life in service to people like MARIA GRACIELA, the vulnerable of our world. MARIA GRACIELA began her journey in Durango, MX with high hopes of reaching her dream of a fuller life for her family. MARIA THERESA began her life’s mission by founding the School Sisters of Notre Dame in Bavaria, Germany in 1833. Both woman began, in faith and hope, their challenging journey, knowing that God walked each step with them. Today we pray that both MARIA GRACIELA and MARIA THERESA may greet each other in the arms of a loving God.
“To forget would be not only dangerous but offensive; to forget the dead would be akin to killing them a second time”. Elie Wiesel, The Night
Today was a special day. It was a day to remember a man who lost his life unjustly in 2007, killed by a US Border Patrol Agent. FRANCISCO JAVIER DOMINGUEZ RIVERA, age 20, was shot by Agent Nicholas Corbett, as he attempted to jump over the border wall back into Mexico.
This week we are also saddened by the not guilty verdict in the murder of JOSE ANTONIO ELENA RODRIGUEZ, age 16, who was shot, through the bollard wall of the US/MX border, 10 times in the back and neck by Agent Lonny Swartz,
May we never forget!
“So you see, there is nothing that can keep me from crossing. My children are not dogs to be abandoned in the street. I will walk through the desert for five days, eight days, ten days, whatever it takes to be with them. I’ll eat grass, I’ll eat bushes, I’ll eat cactus, I’ll drink filthy cattle water, I’ll drink nothing at all. I’ll run and hide from la migra, I’ll pay the mafias whatever I have to. They can take my money, they can rob my family, they can lock me away, but I will keep coming back. I will keep crossing, again and again, until I make it, until I am together again with my family”. (taken from The Line Becomes a River, by Francisco Cantu)
We remembered today, ZENAIDA GONZALEZ ROBLEDO, age 33, who probably was a mother and lived the story that was written above. Zenaida lived this same dream, but died crossing this unmerciful desert on her way to be reunited with her family. We don’t know how many days Zenaida walked, maybe without water. Maybe she twisted her ankle and could not keep up with the group and was left behind alone. All we know is that she risked her life for something she believed was greater than her own life and for this she is to be admired and remembered.
Today we were blessed with the presence of Tom Fleming’s daughter, Francie. Tom is our faithful cross maker, who spends many loving hours designing and sculpting each memorial cross that we place in the desert.
In 2003, a deadly year for migrant travelers, TIBURCIO US CHAN, age 40 from the Yucatan, traveled through Mexico with a dream in his heart. The journey for Tiburcio was long and arduous, with many moments of desperation, but the thoughts of his family, who depended on his safe entry into a world of new possibilities, kept him walking. A few miles after crossing the US/MX border near the San Pedro River, his hope-filled dream ended in view of the border wall that so signifies our country’s loathing for the “other”, the one who is different from “us”.
May we soften our hearts of stone and indifference toward the plight of our migrant brothers and sisters!!
Today on Good Friday afternoon, at the same time that Jesus died on the cross, we remembered the life and death of a young woman, NORA CECILIA HUERTAS HERNANDEZ, age 19, who died near the Douglas Border Patrol Station in 2003. Nora collapsed soon after she crossed the border wall that separates Mexico and the US. Nora was flown to St. Mary’s Hospital in Tucson, but sadly died before she could receive medical care. We have no knowledge of why Nora died so young and what exactly caused her death. All we know is that she risked all for a dream of a better life for herself and her family.
We are grateful to have been accompanied by Notre Dame Prep students and teachers from Baltimore, Maryland, Tucson Samaritan friends and other committed persons who believe that no one should die without being remembered.
We pray that Nora’s family, who without doubt was remembering her today, be consoled in their loss and that Nora rests in the arms of a loving God.
MAGDALENA ANTONIO PÉREZ was just 21years old when her life came to an end, after crossing the Border wall in Naco, SO. She walked the path of thousands of travelers desiring a dignified life for their family, but her dream was cut short very early in her journey. May God hold Magdalena in the palm of his hand forever.
We thank Tom Flemming and Rich Wekerle for making our memorial crosses that are planted to remember our fallen sisters and brothers. (75 so far). We also thank our friends Terri and Gil Gutierrez from Albuquerque who accompanied us today in this memorial.