Eleven people died and 60 were injured when the roof of Holy Cross Church in Ciudad Madero, Tamaulipas state, Mexico, suddenly collapsed as baptisms were being performed there on Oct. 1. Authorities said approximately 100 people were in the church at the time of the collapse.
At a press conference with state authorities it was confirmed that the bodies of three minors and seven adults (five women and two men) were removed from the rubble. The afternoon of the following day it was announced that an 18-year-old woman died in the hospital from serious injuries.
The secretary of health of the state of Tamaulipas, Vicente Joel Hernández Navarro, reported that out of the total number of injured people (as of press time), 13 remain hospitalized, one of them with serious injuries.
The state coordinator for civil protection, Luis Gerardo González de la Fuente, confirmed that after going over the wreckage with a canine rescue team and searching with sensors and thermal cameras, it was determined there were no more people trapped under rubble. The search and rescue work was then concluded and the removal of the debris began.
The authorities also stated that the collapse of the roof was not intentionally caused.
The Church united in prayer
Following the tragedy, Father Ángel Vargas, who was performing the baptisms when the accident occurred, expressed the grief he feels for what happened.
“To the affected families, my blessing in the love of Christ, may they know that for the remainder of my life they will always be in my prayers and that from this day we are brothers in grief, but also in the faith that unites us,” the priest said in post on the Facebook page of Holy Cross Parish in Ciudad Madero.
José Armando Álvarez Cano, the bishop of the Diocese of Tampico where the accident occurred, issued a statement lamenting the painful loss of the “people who were celebrating the baptism of their children.”
The prelate offered his prayer for the “eternal rest and consolation of their relatives” as well as for the people who have been rescued.
The Mexican bishops expressed on X their sorrow and lifted up “their prayers to the Most High that he would pour out his consolation and peace on the affected souls and their families.”
“The Church is a community of faith, love, and mutual support, and in these difficult times, we join together as one body to express our solidarity with all those who have suffered from this tragedy. We ask the Lord to grant them strength to endure this difficult path of mourning and healing,” the Mexican Bishops’ Conference wrote.
The prelates also asked the Catholic faithful to offer their intentions at Masses and lift up their prayers and especially “to pray an Our Father and a Hail Mary for our brothers in Ciudad Madero, Tamaulipas.”
The city is located on the eastern coast of Mexico, about 250 miles from the Texas border.