The drug-related violence in Monterrey and in the state of Nuevo León has been escalating in recent years, as everyone knows from reading the news. However, life goes on, just as Americans kept boarding airplanes after 9/11. Some Regnum Christi apostolates have been more affected than others: the well-attended annual summer camps in Teotepec, an idyllic retreat center and campground an hour from Monterrey, have been indefinitely suspended. My own apostolate in the formation center for consecrated women doesn’t require me to leave the house too often, and I don’t stay out after dark. Even then, it’s strange to think that I’ve grown accustomed to seeing soldiers with machine guns patrolling the city and manning fortified military checkpoints. Sometimes I feel as if I’ve suddenly wandered onto a movie set. As an American companion of mine remarked, “If you were to see a convoy of armored vehicles on a city street in the US, you’d think we’d gone to war, while here in Monterrey it’s a sign of security.”
So I tell my family members, “Don’t worry about me, I play it safe.” But the city of Monterrey and its Regnum Christi family continue to suffer. Just this afternoon, I received notice of a relative of a Legionary who was kidnapped and killed on the same day. Last week, I was asked to pray for an ex-student of a Regnum Christi school who was also kidnapped and killed, even though the family paid a high ransom. A few weeks ago I attended the funeral of the brother of a good friend, the latest casualty in a violent gang feud. And two days ago I found myself driving through a nearby university campus where several innocent students lost their lives in a shootout last year between government forces and an organized crime group.
The instability in Mexico is a complicated affair: the causes stretch back into history and beyond the borders. But there is something simple and beautiful that each one of us can do, no matter where we are: pray for peace. Every day after Mass in the formation center, we say a prayer for peace written for the diocese of Monterrey; we pray for the families, the youth, the public authorities, the criminals and the victims of Mexico. We pray that God will convert the hearts of those who cause violence and console the hearts of those who suffer. Most especially, we pray that we, as Christian disciples and missionaries, will have to strength to build a new culture of justice and peace in which human dignity will be respected.
Please join us in this prayer. So much life depends on it.
Maria Reina de la paz, ¡ruega por nosotros!