Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Border visit 'eye-opener' for bishops

From Arizona-

About 40 Episcopal bishops from across the country participated Tuesday in a vigil for those who have died crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.

The bishops are visiting Arizona for a meeting of the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church. They toured Douglas, Ariz., and Naco, Sonora, to see conditions on both sides of the border.

"It's been a great experience so far, a great eye-opener so far," the Right Rev. Kirk Smith, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Arizona, said by telephone from Naco. "The most moving thing has been to have some personal contact with the people who are affected.

"We talked to some people who had been caught this morning and sent back," Smith added.
The group also planned to meet with U.S. Border Patrol agents.

On Tuesday evening, the bishops joined the Douglas-based Frontera de Cristo for the organization's weekly walk along the Pan-American Highway.

Melissa Gutierrez, of Frontera de Cristo, said the group has held weekly vigils since December 2000.

The group carries crosses, and after speaking the names of those who have died, it leaves crosses on the sidewalk as it continues to the border. The group retrieves the crosses afterward. The walk is about a quarter-mile long.

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