Franciscan friar is shot at Mexican sanctuary

Franciscan friar is shot at Mexican sanctuary

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A young Franciscan friar was shot at one of western Mexico's most important Catholic sites in what local church officials are calling "an isolated incident."

MEXICO CITY — A young Franciscan friar was shot at one of western Mexico’s most important Catholic sites in what local church officials are calling “an isolated incident.”

The unidentified friar and seminarian, 24, was shot from behind March 14 in the atrium of the Basilica of Our Lady of Zapopan in suburban Guadalajara. A suspect has been arrested in the shooting, though no motive for the attack was given.

“This is an isolated incident,” said Father Antonio Gutiérrez, Archdiocese of Guadalajara spokesman. “It was someone who was not in his right mind.”

Gutiérrez said the injured friar was hospitalized, though expected to recover. The assailant had been causing a scene at the basilica, he added, and shot the friar from behind, with the bullet entering in the upper back and exiting through the chest.

The Franciscans have been responsible for the Basilica of Our Lady of Zapopan since its opening in 1730.

The basilica is one of the region’s most popular pilgrimage sites. More than 1 million people line a six-mile route every Oct. 12 for the return of Our Lady of Zapopan to her namesake basilica from the Guadalajara cathedral.

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