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Priest wounded in shooting in southern Mexico

July 29, 2022 GMT

MEXICO CITY (AP) — A Roman Catholic priest was wounded in a shooting on a highway in the southern Mexico state of Guerrero, the Mexican Council of Bishops said late Thursday.

The council said the Rev. Felipe Vélez Jiménez was shot in the cheek and was “out of danger.”

Vélez Jiménez serves as a parish priest in the city of Iguala. His diocese said in a statement that Vélez Jiménez was in “delicate but stable” condition at a hospital.

Guerrero state prosecutors said the priest was driving near the violence-plagued town of Chilapa on Thursday when gunmen on a motorcycle approached his vehicle and opened fire. Prosecutors said the vehicle was hit by at least four rounds.

The shooting comes about one month after two Jesuit priests and a tour guide were slain in the mountains of the northern state of Chihuahua. The priests were allegedly killed by a local drug gang leader on June 20 as they tried to protect the guide.

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Parishes nationwide are still celebrating a month of special prayers for the Jesuits, their killers and the victims of violence.

The Diocese of Chilpancingo-Chilapa said, “We call for our brothers whose crimes cause so much suffering and death, to convert. ... Stop doing evil.”

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