TORONTO - Bishop Samuel Ruiz made the Vatican nervous, he made the government of Mexico nervous and he made indigenous people around the world proud. Ruiz was bishop of the diocese of San Cristobal de las Casas in the southern Mexican province for more than 40 years. He was memorialized in an ecumenical prayer service in Toronto Feb. 23 by veteran human rights campaigners and Church activists.

“His legacy is alive and well and is needed in Mexico today,” Jesuit Father José Avilés told about 100 people who gathered for the prayer service and a conference that followed.

Published in Canada: Toronto-GTA

MEXICO CITY - Pope Benedict XVI might broach the issue of politics during his upcoming visit in Mexico, potentially provoking controversy in a country with a long history of sour church-state relations.

The Archdiocese of Mexico City released an editorial March 4, saying the pontiff could speak on any topic, including politics and social issues affecting country.

Published in International

VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI will meet with Cuban President Raul Castro, Mexican President Felipe Calderon and bishops and Catholics from the region when he visits Mexico and Cuba in late March.

He will also greet bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean as well as pray at the shrine of Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre in Cuba.

It will be his third visit to the Americas after the United States in 2008 and Brazil in 2007.

Published in Vatican

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico - In a city that has become synonymous with violence and despair during a four-year drug war that has claimed more than 12,000 residents, parishioners at a small church are trying to change the image of Ciudad Juarez - one person at a time.

Reflecting on the hymn lyrics, "Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me," Father Roberto Luna, pastor of Corpus Christi Church, urges the estimated 500 active parishioners in this impoverished and besieged neighborhood to live the life of Christ to the best of their abilities. He knows how daunting this task can be.

The neighborhood Corpus Christi is in is adjacent to the Juarez Valley, where a war is being waged between the Sinaloa and Juarez drug cartels, and the war greatly affects the youth in the parish. Over the past year, Father Luna estimates that as many as 50 young people between the ages of 17 and 23 have been murdered, leaving survivors with a sense of anger, frustration and vengeance.

Published in International

MEXICO CITY - Mexican human rights groups and the migration ministry of the Mexican bishops' conference have expressed outrage at the attorney general's office for pursuing anonymous criminal complaints against a priest who provided material and spiritual support to a group of displaced Guatemalans.

The groups also took issue with Mexican immigration officials forcibly removing some of the Guatemalans, who had been residing in a camp they established in Tabasco state near the Mexico-Guatemala border since August after fleeing a violent displacement in their country.

Published in International

VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI will meet with Cuban President Raul Castro, Mexican President Felipe Calderon and bishops and Catholics from the region when he visits Mexico and Cuba March 23-28.

He will also deliver a message to the bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean as well as pray at the shrine of Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre in Cuba.

Vatican Radio released the pope's itinerary as detailed by the Mexican and Cuban bishops' conferences Jan. 2.

Published in International

MEXICO CITY - A spokesman for the Mexican bishops' conference confirmed details of Pope Benedict XVI's upcoming visit to Mexico originally published by the newspaper Reforma, which reported the papal visit would occur March 23-26.

The spokesman, Father Manuel Corral, stressed that details of the visit "are not official," although he said the Pope would only visit the state of Guanajuato and its environs in west-central Mexico. Father Corral said specific details of the visit would likely be made public before the end of the year.

Published in International