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The Message
Evansville, Indiana
May 1, 1998     The Message
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16 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana Guatemalans begin mourning murdered BiShop By MIKE LANCHIN Catholic News Service GUATEMALA CITY (CNS) In an ambience of outrage, dis- belief and deep sorrow, Guate- malans began mourning the death of Auxiliary Bishop Juan Gerardi Conedera of Guatemala City, murdered April 26. "Tragic," "unbelievable," "con- demnable" were the words most readily used by the hundreds of people who crowded into the capital cathedral where Bishop Gerardi's body was to lie until his funeral April 29. Among those who came to the cathedral ,were Guatemalan President Alvaro Arzu and prominent members of his Cab- inet, as well as members of the U.N. peace mission, who laid wreaths at the foot of the altar. Some people cried openly as they filed past Bishop Gerardi's open coffin. One unidentified woman fainted and had to be carried away. The funeral parlor had worked to reconstruct the bishop's face and head, almost totally destroyed by the blows from the concrete blocked used by his killer. "This is terrible. He didn't deserve this. He was a man who served his people," said Carlos Gonzalez, a salesman from the capital. He had come to the cathedral straight from work. "Wiih this (killing) we con.tin- ue living in an abyss, and it will be hard to get out," he added. "It's inexplicable.., we all feel this loss," said another mourner, an elderly working- class man who said he preferred not to be named. Late into the night of April 27, people from all walks of life were still arriving at the cathe- Shefler  Storage Evansville, Indiana 812-421-7750 iiiii i i ] HAUBSTADT ELECTRIC Licensed Bonded. Insured Industrial, Commercial and Residential P.O. Box 405 TONY NAZARIO Haostadt, IN 47639 812-768-5207 1-800-766-2787 i M'&s [ Fire & Safety Equip. Co. Inc. in the Td-state 670E. 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In a homily during the first Mass held in the cathedral April 27, Father Oscar Garcia Urizar of the Society of Bethlehem Mis- sionaries captured the sentiments of many: He accused past human rights violators for the killing. "Why did they kill him? Because they are cowards... because they cannot defend themselves .... It is so sad that there is no respect for otherpeo- ple's lives, for the rights of oth- ers," he told worshipers. "In the midst of this sadness we want to be happy because ues in this case, the government will pay very high costs." Arzu announced on national television April 27 the creation of a top-level commission to monitor the inquiry. A member -of the bishops' conference has been invited to serve on the commission. feds Welre retu00nlng arkest days of the old times (Bishop Gerardi) has become one more martyr in the long list of martyrs of the church," he said. The church gave the govern- ment a 72-hour initial period in which to come up with results in its investigation. A statement from the arch- diocesan human rights office, which Bishop Gerardi headed at the time of his death, said: "If the pattern of impunity contin- The same evening, during his' visit to the cathedral, Arzu told reporters: "We're putting all our resources into solving this." A composite sketch of the alleged assassin was on the front page of most dailies April 28. Officials said that a witness was being given protection by the attorney general's office. The government refused to comment on the possible moti- vation for the crime. But the U.N, Guai ment "INDIANA ' [  "" DISTRICT 73 "" HOUSE ,-.. Fe,. 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