Tragic death of Auxiliary Bishop Gerardi: Letter from the President of the CCCB to the Archbishop of Guatemala

Tuesday, April 28 1998

Most Reverend Próspero Penados del Barrio
Archbishop of Guatemala
Apartado 723, 7a Avenida 6-21, Zona 1
01001 Ciudad de Guatemala

Your Excellency:

We were shocked and dismayed to learn of the violent death of Most Reverend Juan José Gerardi Conedera, Auxiliary Bishop of Guatemala, on Sunday evening, April 26, 1998.

On behalf of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), I wish to convey our condolences and total solidarity during these difficult moments that the Church of Guatemala is experiencing.

Bishop Gerardi was called back to God after a long pastoral ministry marked by commitment to human rights. The sacrifice of his life lives out the prophetic words he delivered a few hours before the drama unfolded, in which he was the innocent victim: “The reign of God involves risks; only those with the strength to face those risks can be its builders.”

Since it is not possible for me to travel to Guatemala, Most Reverend François Lapierre, PMÉ, Bishop-elect of St-Hyacinthe and former pastor of San Juan Ostuncalco in the Diocese of Quetzaltenango, will represent our Episcopal Conference at the funeral tomorrow of your tragically departed auxiliary bishop.

Please assure Most Reverend Jorge Mario Avila del Aguila, CM, Bishop of Jalapa and President of the Episcopal Conference of Guatemala, as well as all your episcopal colleagues in your country, of our deepest sympathies and our fraternal friendship in Our Lord.

+ Jean-Claude Cardinal Turcotte
Archbishop of Montreal
Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops

c.c.: Most Reverend Jorge Mario Avila del Aguila, CM
Bishop of Jalapa
President, Episcopal Conference of Guatemala