This week, Cecilia Rodriguez, advisor of REDESSVIDA (Latin American Network of Priests and Seminarians for Life), and I participated in the first Binational Pro-Family & Pro-Life Congress in El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. With full support of the bishops of both dioceses, pro-life and pro-family leaders in both regions created an inspiring collaboration, encouraging organizers to plan another congress for next year.
It was a privilege to share the Gospel of Life with the audiences at the El Paso congress. Packed with participants, the congress utilized three auditoriums: one for 800-1000 youth, one for 300 participants with lectures in Spanish, and one for 150 adults. While there, we met with bishops from San Antonio and El Paso, who learned about HLI’s successful global pro-life and pro-family endeavors. They were especially interested in REDESSVIDA to strengthen the pastoral work of priests and seminarians.
When the El Paso congress concluded, Cecilia Rodriguez, REDESSVIDA advisor in Mexico, and I traveled to Juarez for several radio interviews with Guadalupana Radio and lectures we gave to local students, pro-life leaders and volunteers at the local crisis pregnancy center. Our mission to Juarez included interest on the part of a local seminary to utilize HLI’s pro-life training courses and incorporate a pro-life pastoral outreach program for regional parishes.
At the conclusion of the Juarez congress, 5,000 youth celebrated Mass with Bishop José Guadalupe Torres Campos of Juárez, Bishop Gerardo de Jesús Rojas López of Tabasco, and Bishop Mark J. Seitz of El Paso. It was a focal point for me to share the global mission of HLI, expressing how bishops go the extra mile to defend life and family. In gratitude for their support of the congresses, the bishops were presented with little feet pins, drawing an unexpected jubilant response from the youth present.
Yet, Mexico’s secular challenges require great evangelization efforts. Pro-life and pro-family organizers in Juarez deserve credit for building a successful evangelization program that reaches 30,000 youth every year across different dioceses in the State of Chihuahua. Our participation at this congress presented an opportunity to edify the faithful on family and life issues through HLI’s educational materials.