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Mexican priest who ran migrant shelter found murdered

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Zelda Caldwell - published on 05/20/22

Fr. Jose Guadalupe Rivas was one of five priests killed in the last four years in Mexico, where murders have increased due to the presence of organized crime and drug traffickers.

The badly beaten body of a Mexican priest was discovered in Tecate, a town near the U.S.-Mexican border.

Fr. Jose Guadalupe Rivas, 58, was pastor of Saint Jude Thaddeus parish in Tecate, and ran Our Lady of Guadalupe Migrant House. He was a member of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal Movement of the Archdiocese of Tijuana.

Fr. Jose, known as “Father Pepe Lupe,” had been missing since Sunday. On Monday, May 16, parishioners visited the ranch where he was staying and discovered his body along with that of another man who was also beaten to death, reported Independent Catholic News.

The State Attorney General’s Office has opened an investigation, according to local news reports.

The Mexican state of Baja California, where Tecate is located, has experienced an increase in violent crime, with 593 murders reported in the first three months of 2022, according to Catholic News Agency.

 Earlier this month the U.S. State Department issued an advisory for the area urging travelers to reconsider visiting the area.

“Transnational criminal organizations compete in the border area to establish narco-trafficking and human smuggling routes. Violent crime and gang activity are common,” cautioned the State Department. 

According to Independent Catholic News, in the last four years, five priests have been murdered in Mexico.

 — Fr. José Martín Guzmán Vega was murdered on August 23, 2019 in the community of Cristo Rey de la Paz in the diocese of Matamoros.

— Fr. José Guadalupe Popoca Soto, parish priest of San Nicolás de Bari in Galeana, Zacatepec, Morelos, was killed on the night of August 30, 2021.

— Fr. Gumersindo Cortés González, of the diocese of Celaya was found murdered on March 28, 2021.

— Fray Juan Antonio Orozco Alvarado, OFM, was killed in crossfire on June 12, 2021 while on his way to celebrate Mass.

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