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Budding Young Priest Calls Troubled Mexican Youth to 'Gang of Christ'

Daniel Becerril - Thomson Reuters
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July 28, 2016
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An aspiring Catholic priests Jose Luis Guerra (L) and Jose Luis Fernandez, members of Raza Nueva in Christ, a project of the archdiocese of Monterrey, bless young men during a visit to a neighbourhood in the municipality of Garcia, on the outskirts of Monterrey, Mexico. (Reuters/Daniel Becerril)

On the troubled fringes of the northern Mexican city of Monterrey, an aspiring Catholic priest is using his faith to reach out to young gang members and at-risk youth and bring them into his "Gang of Christ."

Less than 200 kilometers (125 miles) from the U.S. border, Monterrey is a wealthy city of corporate trailblazers. But violence is never far away on the outskirts, where bricklayers and factory workers walk poorly lit streets to reach simple cinder-block homes.

Jose Luis Guerra, 34, also walks those pathways, searching for young gang members who might listen to his message.

It is a risky vocation: although violence in Monterrey has fallen from the bloody peaks of 2011, an unknown man pacing the streets after dark still risks being seen as a threat.

"My alba is my shield," Guerra says, referring to his white religious robes.

Sometimes seen in his Superman-logo baseball cap, Guerra is a deacon, and will be ordained as a priest in mid-August.

Read the rest at Business Insider

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