Pope Francis will host the families of 43 victims of cartel violence at a huge cross-border mass in the cartel-ravaged Ciudad Juarez during his first ever visit to Mexico this week.
Francis will celebrate mass Wednesday in the border city of Juarez. The Mass is to be held “90 yards from the border,” reported Market Watch. Approximately 200,000 people will attend the mass on the Mexican side of the border and 50,000 on the U.S. side of the border.
“This is one community despite the fence,” Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi stated ahead of the Pope’s visit to Mexico. “I think it will be moving to see this single community even though it is located on two sides of the border.”
Families specifically invited by the Pope to attend his border mass are those of 43 students who disappeared in 2014 and are presumed to have died at the hands of cartel members. The Mexican government has blamed the disappearance of the students on the Guerreros Unidos Cartel.
The government narrative about the fate of the 43 students has been called into question by Argentine anthropologists who were unable to independently verify the claims of the government. The team of anthropologists could not definitively claim that ashes examined were the remains of the 43 missing students.
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