Vatican City, Sep 26, 2016 / 07:21 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Less than a week after two Catholic priests in Mexico were found murdered after having been abducted from their parishes, the body of a third slain priest, Fr. José Alfredo López Guillén, has been found.

Fr. López Guillén, pastor of Janamuato in Mexico’s central state of Michoacan, was taken from the rectory of his parish by unknown persons Monday, Sept. 19. His car had been found overturned on a road nearby. According to a message written on the archdiocese’s Facebook page, the priest had been killed several days before his lifeless body was found near the town of near Puruandiro. His abduction occurred on the same day that authorities found the lifeless bodies of previously-kidnapped Fathers Alejo Nabor Jiménez Juárez and José Alfredo Juárez de la Cruz, in the Diocese of Papantla, in Veracruz state.

According to the Catholic Multi Media Center, 15 priests have been killed in Mexico in less than four years. The majority of the killings have taken place in areas plagued by drug violence, which continues to terrorize country and frequently targets priests, since the Catholic Church is one of the most vocal in speaking out against cartel crimes and activities.

Pope Francis, who has often condemned drug related crime and violence in Mexico, voiced his closeness to the country’s bishops in his Sunday Angelus address. He offered his support to the commitment of the Church and of civil society in Mexico to “in favor of the family and of life, which in this time require special pastoral and cultural attention throughout the world.” “I also assure of my prayer for the dear Mexican people, so that the violence which has in these days also affected some priests, ceases.”

In a video posted on YouTube Sept. 22, Cardinal Alberto Suárez Inda of Morelia, capital of Michoacan and one of the most troubled cities in Mexico, said that “after sharing in the enormous pain over the murder of two young priests in the Diocese of Papantla in Veracruz, today we are suffering anguish firsthand over the disappearance, the kidnapping of one of our priests.”

The cardinal offered prayers for the kidnapped priest and asked that the captors would “respect his person and his life, so that he can return soon to the exercise of his ministry.” “We join in prayer for his family members and parishioners who are going through this distressing time,” he said, and prayed for peace, for respect for life, and for the conversion “of those who dedicate themselves to doing evil.” “Our community suffers the death, the anguish of any one of our faithful. In this case, it's a good man, dedicated to doing good and who is peaceful. This barbarity is in no way justifiable, I ask for your prayers.”