Mexico City, Mexico
AP

Mexico’s Roman Catholic Council of Bishops called Monday on parishes throughout the country to put photos of dead nuns and priests in their churches this Sunday and to hold Masses for all those killed in gang-fueled violence.

The call for special celebrations throughout July came after two Jesuit priests and a tour guide were murdered on 20th June. Authorities have identified a local gang boss reportedly affiliated with the Sinaloa cartel as the suspect in the those killings. He remains at large.

Mexico Mexico City photos of Jesuit priests Javier Campos Morales and Joaquin Cesar Mora Salazar

Faithful mourn in front of the photos of Jesuit priests Javier Campos Morales and Joaquin Cesar Mora Salazar during a Mass at a church in Mexico City, on Tuesday, 21st June. The two elderly priests were killed inside a church where a man pursued by gunmen apparently sought refuge in a remote mountainous area of northern Mexico, the religious order's Mexican branch announced Tuesday. PICTURE: AP Photo/Fernando Llano/File photo.

The council also called on the faithful to pray on 31st July for the conversion or redemption of the killers.

Meanwhile, another priest said he was beaten over the weekend in the violence-plagued western state of Michoacan.

Rev Mateo Calvillo wrote in an open letter that men travelling in another vehicle cut off his car, forcing him to stop, and that one of them came around to his window and beat him savagely. The priest said he knew of no motive for the 29th June attack in the town of Querendaro, saying the man appeared irrational.



On 24th June, the Council of Bishops issued an open letter telling the government that “it is time to revise the security policies that are failing".

The two murdered priests - Rev Javier Campos, 79, and Rev Joaquín Mora, 80 - had spent much of their lives serving Indigenous peoples of the Sierra Tarahumara mountains. The Jesuits were shot to death in the small church in the town of Cerocahui.

The church’s Catholic Multimedia Center said seven priests have been murdered under the current administration, which took office in December, 2018, and at least two dozen in the six years of the previous president.