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May 23, 2019 — Hwy. 80 near Douglas, AZ

“Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the heart of the Beloved forever.”  Psalm 23

A small, but committed, group gathered off of Hwy. 80 near Douglas, AZ to remember and pray for JUAN ANTONIO MARTINEZ VENEGAS, age 25, who ended his journey toward the fulfillment of his life long dream, very near the US/MX border wall.   No one knows what Juan Antonio suffered in those last moments of life, but we do know that he did suffer and that he began this journey of pain for his family and for their future!

May God reward him with eternal joy for his courageous commitment, and peace for his family left behind. 

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May 15, 2019 –Douglas Municipal Airport

Today we welcomed back our prayer leader and “shaman”, Gabriel, after three months of time off.  His wisdom and insights were missed!  WELCOME BACK!

We were also blessed with the presence of Sister Mirian, a School Sister of Notre Dame from our Latin American Province and a native of Brazil.  What a gift!  Sister Mirian promises to return to her country to share how our US immigration policies force people to risk their lives crossing deadly deserts.

We remembered the struggle of MARGARITO TEPO PRIETO, age 36, to offer a fuller life to his family and we prayed for him and those he left behind in grief.

Poems that were shared during our prayer:    Hope is an old adobe wall

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April 25, 2019 –Huachuca City, AZ

Just two months ago a person lost their life in the desert valley between the Dragoon and Whetstone Mts.  How could they have fallen unconscious and died surrounded by dwellings less than a mile away?   Fear and the militarization of our border communities possibly kept him from approaching a home and asking for help.  We will never know for sure, but what we do know is that his death was needless and the result of our US government policy of demonizing our immigrant friends.

May he rest in peace and may his family find consolation and support in this difficult time.

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April 16, 2019 — Mule Mts.

“Do not think I have gone for good: I am sudden winds through a wood”.

Today, on the crest of the Mule Mountains, buffeted by powerful winds that made us shiver, 18 people gathered to mark the spot where the dream of GUSTAVO ROJAS CERVANTES ended.    Seven pilgrims from Notre Dame Prep journeyed from Baltimore, MD to the borderlands of southern Arizona, willing to be transformed by the struggle of thousands who risk their lives in their endeavor to provide for their families.

Today we remembered Gustavo, age unknown, who climbed steep cliffs and walked through deep canyons in these Mule Mts., before he succumbed to the dangers that surrounded him.  May his family remember him as a hero who risked all for their happiness.

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March 27, 2019 –Huachuca City, AZ

From what we have learned from the coroner’s office in Tucson, eight months ago a woman died as she was beginning the climb through the Whetstone Mts. of Arizona.  We do not know any more details about the life of this person except that she was courageous, loved her family and risked all to be reunited with them or to search for a job that would give them a life full of hope and opportunity.

Today, we remembered and prayed for her– a daughter, possibly a sister, possibly a wife, possibly a mother— created in the divine image, beloved by God. 

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March 23, 2019 — Palominas, AZ

What a blessed day!  Our long time friend and migrant advocate, Father Bob Carney, graced us with his presence as we remembered and prayed for an unidentified man who died risking his life to offer a better life for his family.  Twenty five people from diverse life experiences, gathered as one to proclaim that this death was a travesty of justice—-that this should not occur in a country that prides itself in offering welcome to the “tired and poor.”

We opened our prayer with the powerful message from Ezekiel:  “I will give you a new heart and place a new spirit within you, taking from your bodies your stony hearts and giving you hearts of flesh”.  Amen

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March 8, 2019 — Naco, AZ

On a windy cold morning 32 people gathered to remember and pray for ELSA SANTILLAN GARCIA, age 37, and her husband, Silvestre.   Elsa and Silvestre traveled from the state of Mexico with high hopes to be able to better the lives of their children, that they left behind in a village near Mexico City.   They paid a coyote to cross them in Naco, Sonora but what they thought would be an easy crossing, became a nightmare.   Elsa and Silvestre, after spending a night outside in the rain, jumped the 18 foot wall separating Mexico from the United States.  Elsa slipped and fell from the wall and after walking 300 yards into the US, she began to complain to Silvestre that she felt sick and could not continue.

Silvestre made Elsa comfortable and went to search out a Border Patrol agent for assistance.  Upon return, Elsa was unconscious and before medical help arrived, she had died.  Because Silvestre did not have their marriage certificate, he was immediately deported to Agua Prieta, where he spent a week waiting for the beloved body of his wife.

Today, 22 students from Penn State University joined us in honoring the memory and dreams of a loving couple who wanted the best for their children.  Besides praying for Silvestre and Elsa’s children, those gathered committed ourselves, anew, to struggle for justice for people who decide to journey into the unknown in search of a dignified life for their family.

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February 21, 2019 — Chiricahua Mts.

On a blustery and chilly morning, 22 people gathered at MP 395 of Hwy. 80 to remember the life of EDUARDO GUILLEN CORTEZ, who died when he was 33 years old of hypothermia, near the Chiricahua and Peloncillo mountains.  Twelve years ago, Eduardo crossed the Sulphur Springs Valley filled with the promise of a fresh start that only a new country could bestow.  Something unexpected and horrible happened to Eduardo and he was left behind by his traveling group to languish and die alone.   His family got word that he was left behind and after days of searching his lifeless body was found.  We prayed today for Eduardo and for his grieving family who miss him terribly.

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February 12, 2019 – Geronimo Trail

Migration 

The faith which sustains us, which makes mountains move,

waters divide and walls crumble,

empowers us to fly like eagles and tunnel the land like moles.

 

Driven by fear and hunger, but filled with flame,

we flocked ahead unwaveringly,

guided by stars and countless crosses planted along the way.

 

We knocked at your doors hoping for a welcome,

but we received a response which burnt our eyes and seared our lungs.

 

Still, until our last breath,

we shall pray to the heavens to fill your minds with clarity

and your hearts with compassion.

 

We shall stay and pray, and wait,

bearing in mind that our faith gives us the power

to soar like eagles and tunnel like moles.

 

With humility and serenity we shall remain at your doors.

And wait.                                                             by Eduardo Rahbe

 

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January 28, 2019 – Hwy. 191 MP 89

Today, we remembered a 15 year old migrant who died, far from his home in Baja California,  in an auto-mobile accident near Willcox.  What tempted ANDRES VIZCARRA SAMANIEGO to leave his friends and family and suffer hunger and thirst for days in the mountains of southern Arizona, only to end his life on a superhighway leading to his future full of hope?

The poem below, written by Wolfgang Paradox, speaks about the wall, that was responsible for the death of Andres, as a scar across the flesh of mother nature.

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It’s quiet in the desert.

It’s quiet, but not silent. Birds occasionally cry, tumbleweed brushes against the ground, the wind whistles through the plant life, moving particles of sand that scrape against worn jeans.
It’s not like that, here. It’s still the desert–but–its like it knows, like mother nature herself can feel the scar across her flesh, the ragged mess of steel and rust and hate.
It’s silent, like nowhere else is, oppressive, the only sound the licking of dry lips, the beat of a desperate heart, the whirring of a mind asking why, why, why?
A sudden burst of wind sends an unearthly howl through the metal slats. The desert knows this barrier should not exist, and cries out its mourning.
This wall, they call it. Too plain a word to describe its meaning, its affect.
And they want to build a bigger one.

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