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Man dies on his knees in front of altar in Mexico City church

February 25, 2021 CNA Daily News 0

Mexico City, Mexico, Feb 25, 2021 / 05:01 pm (CNA).- A church in Mexico City was the scene on Sunday of the death of Juan, a man in his sixties who got down on his knees to pray at the entrance of the church, made his way up the main aisle still on his knees, passed out, and died within minutes in front of the altar.

The same afternoon the parish priest celebrated Juan’s funeral Mass accompanied by several parishioners.

The official report states that Juan entered Jesus the Priest parish church, around noon on Feb. 21, and died shortly thereafter on his knees in front of the altar, about 45 minutes before the start of the afternoon Mass.

The sacristan, who witnessed the man’s collapse, quickly informed the pastor, Fr. Sajid Lozano, who called an ambulance, but “there were several signs indicating there was no more we could do because he had already died,” the priest said.

Speaking to ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish language news partner, Lozano said that “Juan came on his own two feet to his funeral Mass with his body present there, which is the death of the just, a death without suffering.”

“Juan had the strength and the courage to come to the house of God to take his last breath,” he added.

According to the magazine Desde la Fe, a publication of the Archdiocese of Mexico City, very few people knew Juan, but moved by the way he died, many participated in the funeral Mass.

Police and paramedics “told us that the death had occurred due to a sudden heart attack and that there were no signs of violence,” the priest told the archdiocesan magazine. The authorities also gave the priest permission to go ahead with the Mass and suggested that he find one of Juan’s relatives.

Mexican law states that when a person dies outside of a hospital, the body cannot be removed until the coroner and local prosecutor come to examine the body to verify there was no foul play.

Consequently, Juan’s body had to be left right where he died. As the Sunday Mass was scheduled to begin shortly at 1 p.m., Lozano made the impromptu decision to make it the funeral Mass for the deceased.

A young man who was passing by near the church was able to identify the body and then accompanied the authorities to the family’s residence. The son of the deceased was at home, and shocked by the news, went to the church to participate in the funeral Mass.

As a sign of respect, Juan’s body was covered with a white sheet brought by one of the faithful and a candle was placed at his feet.  

Lozano told ACI Prensa that “death is still a painful and unexpected event”, and it is “only through faith that we have the hope that it is not the end of everything, but the beginning of eternal life.”

The pastor told Desde la Fe that the faithful “prayed for a person they did not know, but that he was a member of the community.”

The dramatic turn of events “made a big impact on the people,” surprised by what had happened, and “together we reflected that death is only the end of our pilgrimage in this world, but the beginning of eternal life,” he concluded.



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Mexican nuns in need of help after Covid hits community

January 30, 2021 CNA Daily News 1

Mexico City, Mexico, Jan 30, 2021 / 06:01 am (CNA).- The Dominican Nuns of the St. Catherine of Siena Monastery in Mexico City sent an urgent request for “fervent prayers” to local and international Catholics after 10 of their 24 religious fell ill with Covid-19 early this week.

The superior of the community sent a letter to supporters and Catholic news organizations explaining that most of the infected religious have mild symptoms, but the required isolation is preventing them from producing the sweets, bread, and cakes whose sales constitute the financial pillar of the community.

“Two of our sisters have been in very bad condition and have been transported to a hospital, while our older sister, 87 year-old Sister Teresa Coronado, died of COVID late last week.
Most of us continue to be in stable condition, with minor flu symptoms, but social distancing is preventing us from fulfilling our regular duties. Please keep us in your prayers so that God’s will may always be done.”

In Mexico, there have been 1.8 million cases of Covid-19, and more than 153,000 deaths. Of the dead, 166 have been clerics and 11 religious.


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Mexico archdiocese denies claim it has abandoned ill former archbishop

January 22, 2021 CNA Daily News 1

Mexico City, Mexico, Jan 22, 2021 / 04:06 pm (CNA).- Carlos Cardinal Aguiar Retes of Mexico denied this week that his archdiocese has incurred “material and spiritual abandonment” of his predecessor, who is gravely ill with Covid-19, by not providing for his care in a private hospital.

Norberto Cardinal Rivera Carrera, 78, who was Archbishop of Mexico from 1995 to 2017, was admitted to a public hospital earlier this month.

Public hospitals in Mexico are widely considered to provide subpar medical services, relative to private institutions.

“In cases where hospitalization of priests and bishops is required, it is provided through hospitals in the state sector,” Cardinal Aguiar Retes has said.

“The decision that bishops and priests receive medical attention for COVID in these hospitals is because of the economic situation experienced by the Church throughout the country and in communion and solidarity with what thousands of Mexicans have lived during this pandemic and those we accompany through our daily prayer.”

The Archdiocese of Mexico said Jan. 20 that “the Vicariate of the Clergy of the Archdiocese is in charge of accompanying priests and bishops during their illness, maintaining contact, supporting, and monitoring their state of health.”

Fr. Hugo Valdemar, who for 15 years was communications director to Cardinal Rivera, accused Cardinal Aguiar Retes Jan. 19 of abandoning “both spiritually and materially” his predecessor, by denying him the financial resources for his medical care in a private hospital in Mexico City.

According to Fr. Valdemar, “caring for the health of Cardinal Rivera is not charity, is their obligation, and if they claim that there are no resources, that cannot be an excuse to abandon him. Don Norberto always took personal care of his auxiliary bishops and his priests.”

The Code of Canon Law states that “the conference of bishops must take care that suitable and decent support is provided for a retired bishop, with attention given to the primary obligation which binds the diocese he has served.”

The Archdiocese of Mexico said that if Cardinal Rivera wants to be taken care of in the private sector, “he can do so with his own resources or the support of the people close to him.”

The archdiocese reported Jan. 16 that Cardinal Rivera had been hospitalized after testing positive for Covid. Since then, the reports regarding his health have been increasingly pessimistic.

The communications director of the archdiocese, Javier Rodríguez, told ACI Prensa that Cardinal Aguiar Retes has assigned a priest to be permanently “aware of the needs” of Cardinal Rivera.

Interviewed by ACI Prensa Jan. 21, Fr. Valdemar reiterated his accusation and demanded that the archdiocese “say with reliable data how they have supported and cared spiritually for Cardinal Rivera, because if there is a priest assigned to take care of him, he was nowhere to be found last Monday, when Don Norberto was in danger of death, and a priest had to  be rushed from the archdiocese, because there was no one around.”

“I read the statement with great surprise because, as far as I know, no priest has been appointed by Archbishop Carlos Aguiar for this purpose. In any case, why didn’t they released the name of the supposed priest and thus be able to deny the abandonment that I have denounced? If they don’t give the name, it’s for a very simple reason, because it’s a lie,” he said.

Fr. Valdemar also said that if Cardinal Rivera tried a private hospital “it was because of the seriousness of his condition and trusting in the validity of his (Church-assigned) medical insurance, only to find out that the insurance had expired in August last year and he was never informed about it”.

Fr. Valdemar said that the insurance “expired because the archdiocese did not make the second payment. This is criminal negligence.”

“It seems to me that it is time for the Holy Father, or the Holy See, to intervene and put a limit to so much infamy against an archbishop prostrate in serious condition that he cannot defend himself and who faithfully served the Archdiocese of Mexico for 22 years and that, unlike the current Archbishop Aguiar Retes, has never left any priest in distress, who, by the way, were always treated in good quality hospitals.”

“If, God forbid, Archbishop Aguiar fell ill, would they admit him to a hospital like the Mexican Institute of Social Security? Are they serious?,” he pointed out.

According to the government of Mexico, more than 1.8 million cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed in the country, with more than 163,000 deaths.


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Mexican bishops call for peace in the US after violence at the Capitol

January 7, 2021 CNA Daily News 1

CNA Staff, Jan 7, 2021 / 06:01 pm (CNA).- The Secretary General of the Mexican Bishops Conference made a call on behalf of the Mexican episcopate for peace to prevail in the United States.

In a tweet from his official account, Bishop Alfonso Miranda Guardiola said that the Mexican bishops “regret the events and the deaths occurred at the United States Capitol,” and added that “democracy and the rule of law need to prevail over the acts of violence.”

“To the dead and infected by the pandemic, let’s not add more victims of riots, insurrections and wars,” he said.

Mexican media has been heavily covering the events at the US Capitol and the rocky transition of power from President Donald Trump to President-elect Joe Biden. With a heavy dependency on the U.S. economy and international politics, events in America have become regular top news in the country for the last two months.