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Candlelight vigil planned for students missing in Mexico

While protests have erupted across Mexico and parts of the United States after the disappearance and alleged kidnapping and death of 43 Mexican college students by corrupt government officials and a gang, Regis University will show support in a candle-lit procession beginning 6 p.m. Dec. 1.

“We want to bring awareness of what is happening to our sisters and brothers in Mexico,” said Jesuit Father Fernando Álvarez-Lara, associate university minister for liturgy at Regis University and an organizer of the event. “We acknowledge, yes the situation is bad, but we have to look at the light of Christ in all of us and discern as a community how we can be of help and support.”

The university welcomes the larger community to participate in the ecumenical procession titled: “From Darkness to Light: Walking with Ayotzinapa.” Participants will gather outside the university’s library on the Lowell campus in northwest Denver and walk toward the St. John Francis Regis Chapel.

The procession will be led with a banner of Our Lady of Guadalupe—a symbol of Mexican identity and unity.

At the end of the procession, talks will be given by a writer, a teacher and an artist, all from the southern Mexican state of Guerrero where the students were allegedly ambushed on Sept. 26.

“We want to reflect on the situation and discuss what we can do,” Father Álvarez-Lara said. “As we enter the liturgical time of Advent, we need to pray for the grace to know how to wait for things to change for the better while acknowledging we desperately need divine intervention.”

Pope Francis has called for prayers for the missing students and condemned the political corruption and drug traffickers that may have led to the deaths.

Media reports state the students went to Iguala, a town south of Mexico City, on Sept. 26 to raise funds for a future trip to the Capitol. Investigators said the borrowed buses were stopped by police at the orders of the town’s mayor and his wife because they feared the students were coming to protest an event planned by the mayor’s wife.

Authorities arrested the couple Nov. 7 and said they handed the students over to members of the Guerreros Unidos gang who killed the students and burned their bodies. However, family members want an independent investigation and proof the students are dead.

The Mexican bishops’ conference issued a statement Nov. 7 in support of the families.

“Adding our voice to theirs and to all of society we say enough with so much corruption, impunity and violence,” the statement said.

Regis University is located at 3333 Regis Blvd. For more information, visit www.regis.edu or call the university Ministry Office at 303-458-4153.

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