The apostolic nuncio to the United States celebrated Mass at the U.S.-Mexico border Oct. 23 offering prayers to break down the barriers that separate people. Archbishop Christophe Pierre faced the immense steel border fence in Nogales as he and the bishop of Tucson and the bishop of Mexico’s Diocese of Nogales, Sonora, concelebrated the liturgy with people gathered on both sides of the border. The nuncio began the prayer of the faithful with a plea for unity. “Jesus, we come before you today as your disciples, sometimes filled with fear and doubt, even suspicion,” he said. “We pray to dismantle the barriers within our hearts and minds that separate us, who are all members of your body.” Following his words, young people led the congregation in prayers for “needed immigration reform,” for humane treatment of migrants who don’t have documents, and for “security and justice for all.” They prayed especially for migrant children, “who are vulnerable to exploitation and abuse,” and for all who have died in border violence, including border patrol agents, immigrants and innocent victims. …In what seemed to be a spontaneous moment during the service, five young people ducked under a barrier near the border fence to hold hands and pray the Our Father with those on the other side in Mexico. They stayed at the border fence until the sign of peace, offering their hands to those on the other side. Carlos Zapien, music director for the Diocese of Tucson, said the special Mass was a statement that “faith can unite people.” Zapien’s original score “Misa de la Misericordia” (“Mass of Mercy”) was used in the cross-border liturgy with choirs on both sides participating. “Faith and music have no borders,” he said.
Photo: CNS/Nancy Wiechec