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Churches on alert in Las Cruces, NM, after weekend bombings

Churches on alert in Las Cruces, NM, after weekend bombings

The Governor of New Mexico described as “cowardly” the bomb attacks that took place outside two Las Cruces churches on Sunday morning. Although the churches are just a few miles apart, and the explosions took place within a half hour of one another, police are still hesitant to link them definitively, according to the Las Cruces Sun News.

State Police Chief Pete Kassetas said the acts were certainly intended to terrorize churchgoers, but he could not call it an act of terrorism at this time, or even confirm for certain that the two explosions were related. …

…Kassetas said they were not releasing information on the type of explosive device used while the investigation is ongoing, but said they “were not fireworks”

“These devices were intended, I believe, to do harm and could have done harm to people.”

Calvary Baptist Church had not yet begun its Sunday services when the device exploded in a mailbox on a wall of the church, while at Holy Cross Catholic Church, parishioners were receiving Communion when the blast was heard from a trash can near the entrance. No one was injured in the explosions.

At a press conference Sunday night, Gov. Susana Martinez said that only a “coward” would place an explosive device in a church. She vowed that the person responsible would be caught, and urged people to continue to attend church services.

“Whoever did this will feel the full pressure of the law,” she said. “If your intention was to bring fear to those who worship, you have failed.”

A spokesman for the Las Cruces police said that other churches had been in touch asking what they should do to protect their own parishioners.

“We can’t tell them what to do, but we can tell them to be on the lookout for anything suspicious,” he said. “Don’t go poking around in trash cans or mailboxes. If you have any suspicion of anything that’s out of the ordinary, please call to police and leave it up to the officers to look it over.”

Read the full Sun News story here.

A statement on Calvary’s Facebook page reads

We are grateful that everyone on campus is safe and for the prompt response of the authorities. Calvary continues to pray for our community and watch for any opportunity God may give us to serve and help Las Cruces in the days and months ahead.

Holy Cross posted

Holy Cross Official Statement:

During Sunday 8 am mass, our devoted parishioners were disrupted by a senseless act of violence. An explosive device was detonated outside the church doors in a steel trashcan. Thanks be to God there were no injuries. Law enforcement responded immediately, asking parishioners to leave campus. Our parishioners, community, and bishops demonstrated their unity. Volunteers worked together to shuttle parishioners home. The firemen provided food and water. 

In a show of support, Monsignor Anderson was contacted by the pastor at Calvary Baptist Church which had been bombed earlier that morning. Members of the community joined local clergy for a rally Pioneer Park. Prayers were offered in thanksgiving to God for the safety of the parish communities and a common sense of unity prevailed.

We have received assurances by Governor Martinez and expressions of support by State Senators. Federal, state and local government agencies continue to monitor the campus and are actively investigating the crime. Anyone with information should contact 1-800-CALL-FBI

At this moment the most important action we can take is to pray and attend mass. We must show that we are united and that our faith is strong. To every believer, our Lord has told us,

FEAR NOT, for I am with you; do not be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you (Isaiah 41:10)

Photo credit: Holy Cross Roman Catholic Church, Las Cruces, NM, via Facebook.

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