~ by the Catholic News Service
SAN ANTONIO (CNS) – The archbishop of San Antonio offered prayers for dozens of people found dead as well as more than a dozen survivors discovered June 27 in sweltering conditions in a semi-truck.
Authorities said on June 28 the death toll rose overnight to 50.
“We pray for the souls of the …people who died in such a cruel, inhumane manner this evening,” Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller said in a statement soon after first responders made the gruesome discovery about 6 p.m. local time.
Authorities said the victims were migrants. They said the truck appeared to be part of a smuggling operation.
Roberto Velasco Alvarez, head of the Mexican government’s North American mission, said on Twitter that 22 of the victims were Mexican nationals, seven were originally from Guatemala and two were Honduran. The nationality of 19 others has not been determined.
Officials believe the tragedy is the deadliest smuggling incident of its kind in U.S. history.
Archbishop Garcia-Siller also asked for payers for the survivors – 12 adults and four children – who were hospitalized, their families and “the first responders who assisted and saved lives and must now carry with them the memories of this scene.”
News of the deaths reached Pope Francis, who tweeted June 28th that he was offering prayers for those who died in Texas as well as at least 23 sub-Saharan migrants who died June 24 while attempting to flee Morocco by scaling a border fence to cross into the Spanish enclave of Melilla in north Africa on the Mediterranean coast.
“Let us #PrayTogether for these brothers and sisters who died following their hope of a better life; and for ourselves, may that the Lord might open our heats so these misfortunes never happen again,” the Pope’s tweet said.
Smuggling operations working within the United States have been known to pack migrants into trucks or cargo trailers after they have already crossed the border in an attempt to sneak them past U.S. Border Patrol highway checkpoints. To read the entire article please click here