Father Kevin Mullins steers his old Chevy pickup up a steep road to a hilltop dominated by a large statue of the virgin. She has a commanding view of this troubled corner of Christendom.
Here, the states of Texas, New Mexico and Chihuahua, Mexico, intersect amid barren hills freckled with ocotillo plants and greasewood.
Getting out of the truck, the graying Catholic priest with the kind, ruddy face squints north. "From up here you can see across the I-10 there into El Paso. Also, you see the border fence down there. And then, further to the south, you have Ciudad Juarez."
Australian-born Mullins is a member of the Columban Fathers, who are committed to social justice. His Corpus Christi church is in Rancho Anapra, a hardscrabble barrio on the west side of Juarez that stares at El Paso across the sluggish Rio Grande.
It's been a tough four years in Ciudad Juarez, once the epicenter of Mexico's cartel war. Massacres, beheadings and disappearances became as commonplace as dust storms in the Chihuahua Desert. As the cartels took over and security vanished, packs of freelance thugs roamed the city, extorting at will. No one was spared.