Friday, December 30, 2011

In Memoriam

Each year, much as journalists' organizations publish the names of news reporters, writers and camerapeople who were killed while carrying out their work, the Pontifical missionary news organzation Fides publishes a list of Catholic pastoral workers who suffered violent deaths on Church property or while carrying out their ministry. This list includes only priests, religious brothers and sisters, catechists and parish staff, not lay faithful who suffered martyrdom simply for holding to their faith. (That list would be long, indeed.)

According to Fides, "During 2011, 26 pastoral care workers were killed: one more than the previous year: 18 priests, 4 religious sisters, 4 lay people. For the third consecutive year, the place most affected, with an extremely elevated number of pastoral workers killed is AMERICA, bathed with the blood of 13 priests and 2 lay persons. Following is AFRICA, where 6 pastoral workers were killed: 2 priests, 3 religious sisters,1 lay person. ASIA, where 2 priests, 1 religious sister, 1 lay person were killed. The least affected was EUROPE, where one priest was killed. Biographical details can be found in the linked document.

"As in ancient times, today the sincere adherence to the Gospel may require the sacrifice of life, and many Christians in various parts of the world are sometimes exposed to persecution and martyrdom."
Pope Benedict XVI
December 26, 2011

In America 15 pastoral care workers were killed (13 priests and 2 lay people).
They were killed in Colombia (7), Mexico (5), Brazil (1), Paraguay (1) and Nicaragua (1).
In Colombia 6 priests and 1 lay person were killed: Fr. Rafael Reátiga Rojas and Fr.Richard Armando Piffano Laguado killed by gunshot by a murderer who was traveling with the two priests; Fr. Luis Carlos Orozco Cardona, killed by a young man who shot him among the crowd; Fr. Gustavo Garcia, age 34, murdered at a bus stop (he was heading to a sick call) by a man who wanted to steal his mobile phone; Fr. Jose Reinel Restrepo Idárraga, killed by unknown persons while he was riding his motorcycle which was then stolen along with other objects belonging to the priest; Fr. Gualberto Oviedo Arrieta, age 34, found covered with wounds and knifed to death, in the rectory of his parish. To the list of priests we also add a lay man Luis Eduardo Garcia, a member of the Social Pastoral, attacked by a group of guerrillas, kidnapped and then killed.
In Mexico, 4 priests died and 1 lay woman: Fr. Santos Sánchez Hernández, attacked by an intruder who entered his house, most likely to steal; Fr. Francisco Sanchez Duran, found in the church with wounds to the neck, perhaps in an attempt to stop a robbery in church; Fr. Salvador Ruiz Enciso, who was kidnapped and killed, and whose body could only be identified through DNA; Fr. Marco Antonio Duran Romero, killed in a gunfight between soldiers and an armed group. To the list we add Mary Elizabeth Macías Castro, of the Scalabrinian Lay Movement, who worked at a newspaper and in contact with migrants, kidnapped by a group of drug dealers and brutally killed.
In Brazil, Fr. Romeu Drago was killed in his home. His body was then brought to about 25 km from his home, where he was burned.
In Paraguay, Bishop.Julio Cesar Alvarez was killed. His body was found in his room, hand and foot bound, with injuries and scratches and strangled.
In Nicaragua, Fr. Marlon Ernesto Pupiro García was kidnapped and killed .

In Africa, 6 pastoral care workers were killed: 2 priests, 3 women religious, 1 lay person. The killings took place in Burundi (2) and DR Congo, Southern Sudan, Tunisia, Kenya.
In Tunisia Fr. Marek Rybinsk was killed, a Salesian missionary, whose body was found dead in a local Salesian school of Manouba.
In Kenya Fr. Awuor Kiser was attacked in a suburb of the Kenyan capital. Shot in the chest with an edged weapon and died because of the serious the wounds.
In R.D. Congo Sister Jeanne Yegmane was killed in an ambush.
In South Sudan Sister Angelina died while bringing medical aid to refugees.
In Burundi, during a robbery attempt Sister Lukrecija Mamica of the "Sisters of Charity" and Francesco Bazzani, a volunteer, were killed.

In 2011 in Asia the deaths of 4 pastoral care workers were recorded: 2 priests, 3 religious sisters, 1 lay person. They died in: India (3) and the Philippines (1).
In India, the priest Fr. G. Amalan was killed in his room by a young man who escaped with a few rupees found in the home; the religious Sister Valsha John, working among the poor, the marginalized and tribal people, killed in her home, a catechist and lay activist Rabindra Parichha, kidnapped and killed.
In the Philippines, Fr. Fausto Tentorio, PIME missionary was killed, who had dedicated his life to the service of literacy and development of the indigenous known as lumads. He was killed while on his way to a priests’ meeting, two gunmen shot him in the head and back.

In Spain, Fr. Ricardo Munoz Juarez was killed by thieves who broke into his home.


May they all enjoy the light of God's face, and intercede for us so that our lives of faith will allow the light of Christ to shine in the world throughout 2012!

Information from Fides, used under the Creative Commons license.

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