Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Thousands Expected To Converge At Anapra For Traditional Day of the Dead Mass Between Mexico-U.S. Border

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Father Eleazar Perez-Rodriguez

Photo: HNG

Día de los Muertos traditional binational Catholic mass to take place on Wednesday.

By H. Nelson Goodson
November 2, 2012

Sunland Park, New Mexico - On Wednesday, an estimated 5,000 people are expected to converge near the Río Bravo between Chihuahua, Mexico, Sunland Park (Anapra), New Mexico and El Paso, Texas. November 2nd is the traditional celebration of the Day of the Dead or el Día de los Muertos and an annual massive Catholic mass on the border has been organized by the Diocese of Ciudad Juarez, Diocese de Las Cruces and Diocese of El Paso.
On Tuesday, Father Eleazar Perez-Rodriguez, 51, administrator at the San Martin de Porres Roman Catholic Church said, this year's mass is dedicated to social justice, remembering all the undocumented immigrants that have crossed the border into the U.S. looking for a better life for them and their children, but died in the process while crossing the border.
The border mass will take place simultaneously at 1:00 p.m., Bishop Renato Ascencio León from the Diocese of Ciudad Juarez, will give a mass on the border from Chihuahua, Mexico; Bishop Ricardo Ramirez from the Diocese of Las Cruces will give mass at Anapra and Bishop Armando Xavier Ochoa from the Diocese of El Paso will in the Texas side of the border. People from the U.S. side will gather at the border fence on McNutt Road and Anapra Drive, according to Father Perez-Rodriguez.
Father Perez-Rodriguez was ordained in Namiquipa, Mexico and had to leave Chihuahua after he alerted Mexican authorities about marijuana growing farms and his life had been threaten by the Sinaloa Cartel. He arrived in Sunland Park on June 2, 2010 from Milwaukee, Wisconsin where he served between 1999 to 2010 in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. He was the priest at St. Anthony Church and 2004 became the administrator for the St. Adalbert Catholic Church until 2010. In 2010, he founded Spirit Mission, which provides spiritual advice 24-7 a week in Milwaukee's south side predominately Hispanic community.
Perez-Rodriguez was instrumental in keeping St. Adalbert from shutting down and helped boost membership of parishioners. In January 2005, while getting groceries from his vehicle, he was hit by a 19-year-old undocumented driver who lost control of his vehicle in the icy street. Perez-Rodriguez lost his left leg in the accident.

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