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The “Undocumented Christ”

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In 2004, a mysterious life-size and perfectly preserved statue of Jesus Christ was found in a sandbar in the middle of the Rio Grande River in an area where four Mexican immigrants later drowned. The statue was found by the US Border Patrol while watching from the air. The agents, accustomed to seeing countless bodies of Mexican immigrants in the river, thought nothing and radioed to ground units to investigate. Border Patrol agents on the ground were surprised to discover the striking figure of Jesus, minus his cross.

Because no one claimed it and because of its mysterious discovery in the river where so many undocumented Mexican immigrants have died, Christians in Piedras Negras, Mexico, across the river from Eagle Pass, Texas, embraced the statue as a religious message from God. Eagle Pass Police Chief Juan A. Castaneda, a very religious person, said that he is embracing it as “The Christ of the Undocumented.” “Faith has led me to believe that this is a sign,” he said.

Fr. James LOIACANO, pastor at Our Lady of Refuge, Eagle Pass, where the Oblates are in charge of three parishes, agrees. In an interview on illegal immigration aired on the public broadcasting television network program, “Religion and Ethics,” he reflected, “I think in a real sense perhaps we could see this as God’s message to our nation. How shall we treat those who come to our border, and what does the wall really mean? What is it saying?–Jesus, stay out?”

The statue now resides in Our Lady of Refuge Church in a small chapel where there is constant flow of people adoring the Blessed Sacrament and praying the “Divine Mercy” devotions. As Fr. Loiacano says: “This is our Cristo indocumentado.” People come for hundreds of miles to see it; they pray before it. No one knows where it came from… But it reminds us that Christ, too, is a refugee and that every stranger who comes to our door is a child of God.”

VISIT: Our Lady of Refuge an Oblate Parish in Eagle Pass, Texas

Originally published by Oblate Communications (