MEXICO CITY — An 84-year-old priest of the Archdiocese of Mexico City was found dead in Cuernavaca, the capital of Mexico’s Morelos state, April 25.
Father Moisés Fabila Reyes had been kidnapped April 3. According to local media, his family had decided not to publicize the kidnapping and to keep the Church out of the negotiations to free him.
Tests showed that the priest died from a heart attack. He had health issues before the kidnapping, reports said, which were likely exacerbated by the conditions of his captivity.
Father Fabila entered the Conciliar Minor Seminary of Mexico at age 12. He was ordained a priest June 29, 1961, in the Mexico City cathedral. Since 2001, he served as chaplain of the choir at the Guadalupe Basilica.
In a statement released April 26, the Archdiocese of Mexico City announced that Father Fabila’s body had been recovered the previous day.
The archdiocese said it shares in “the overwhelming pain of the relatives and friends of Father Moisés Fabila.”
“We lift up our prayers to God for the eternal rest of his soul and that Our Lady of Guadalupe console them.”
The Mexican Bishops’ Conference also expressed “our profound solidarity with his relatives, parishioners, fellow canons of the basilica, as well as with the archbishop of Mexico City, Cardinal Aguiar Retes, and the rector of the National Basilica of Guadalupe, Msgr. Enrique Glennie Graue.”
“We implore the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe, that, like her, we may always be faithful sowers of faith, hope and charity,” the conference concluded.
The announcement comes amid a wave of violence against priests in Mexico. Father Rubén Alcántara Díaz was found murdered April 18, and Father Juan Miguel Contreras was shot to death in his church April 20.
Another priest, Father Lucino Flores Sánchez of the Archdiocese of Puebla, died April 16 after being struck by a car on the Mexico-Puebla highway. However, officials said they believed the incident to be accidental, as the priest, who was in his late 60s and no longer in active ministry, had been sick and showing signs of significant memory loss.