Friday, April 04, 2008

"If they hate you, remember they hated me first"

Known Catholics Killed While on Mission in 2007

Fr. Mario Bianco, a ninety year old Italian Consolata missionary, died in Manizales, Colombia, on 15 February after being attacked by thieves ten days earlier on 4 February. The bandits broke into what was formerly a Consolata Seminary building where the priest lived with another Italian missionary and a couple of local housekeepers. Some time ago the Consolata seminarians moved to other premises in Manizales, where the Consolata Missionaries have two communities. In the early evening on 4 February a gang of bandits broke into the house, beat and tied up Fr. Mario and one of the housekeepers and attacked the other priest who arrived home soon afterwards. The criminals searched for money and valuables for several hours and in the end made away with the community car, found two days later, taking with them objects for a value of a few thousand Euro. Fr. Mario was taken immediately to hospital as soon as the attackers had gone, however despite treatment he died of heart failure ten days later on 15 February.
see Agenzia Fides 17/2/2007

Fr. Martin Addai, Ghanaian age 46, a member of the Missionaries of Africa, (or White Fathers) was killed on Saturday 10 March 2007 in a Nairobi Kenya. He was on his way to visit friends not far from the local seminary of which he was rector, when he was attacked by a gang of criminals who shot him dead and stole the car. His body was found abandoned on the edge of the road. At the seminary, his confreres and the seminarians were not worried knowing he was with friends. The search for the missionary was started only late the next evening. Fr. Martin Addai was born at Adamsi, diocese of Kumasi, in Ghana, on 12 November 1960. He entered the Missionaries of Africa novitiate in Kasama (Zambia) on 19 September 1984 and was ordained a priest on 1990. He then served in Mozambique in the diocese of Chimoio. Between 1993 and 1996 he continued his studies in Rome for a Licentiate in moral theology and then went to Canada for a year in spirituality. On returning to Mozambique he taught at the major seminary of Maputo, before being appointed at the end of 2004 rector of Ejisu philosophy seminary in Ghana. Elected a member of the general chapter in 2004, he was sent to Nairobi as Rector of the Missionaries of Africa theology seminary a Nairobi.
see Agenzia Fides 13/3/2007

Fr. José Luis Camacho Cepeda, aged 54, Peruvian, was stabbed to death during the night of 11 March 2007 in his home in Bogota (Colombia). He had lived in Colombia for about 20 years. When he failed to appear to say Mass for two consecutive days at the church of St Charles Borromeo in Bogota the concerned parish priest went to look for him at his home. The priest was found dead in his apartment.

Fr. Fransiskus Madhu, aged 30, Divine Word Missionary (SVD) born in Flores (Indonesia), was killed on Palm Sunday 1 April 2007, in the village of Mabungtot, diocese of Tabuk, in the north of the Philippines (Luzon Island ), while on his way to say the evening mass at the chapel of the village where he was parish priest. He was shot by a group of men carrying army weapons. Hit in vital body organs by five bullets, the priest was dead by the time local people got him to hospital. For the local people Fr Madhu, who had been a missionary in that area since 2005, will be remembered as a “very caring person, active and straightforward”.
See Agenzia Fides 3/4/2007

Sr Anne Thole, aged 35, born in Swaziland and raised in South Africa, a member of the Franciscan Sisters of the Holy Family (known as the Nardini Sisters). Sr Anne Thole died on 1 April Palm Sunday trying to save patients from a fire at Duduza Hospice for people with AIDS at the Santa Maria Ratschitz Catholic mission near Wasbank in the north of KwaZulu-Natal, 30 km from Dundee, South Africa. The straw roof of the hospice caught fire, perhaps because of a cigarette lit by one of the patients, and the flames spread immediately. The nursing staff saved five of the eight patients at the hospice and then Sr Anne returned to fetch the remaining three but the ceiling collapsed and she and the three patients died. Sr Anne had been working for two years at the hospice as well as being in charge of the novitiate of her Order.
see Agenzia Fides 4/4/2007

Rev. Richard Bimeriki, Congolese, from the parish of Jomba, north Kivu (D. R. Congo) died of his injuries in a Rwandan hospital on 7 April 2007, following an attack in his parish in Congo on 12 March. Eyewitnesses say the aggressors wearing military uniforms broke into the parish demanding a drink, and then opened fire on the priest.

Rev. Wolfgang Hermann (aged 46), from the Germany diocese of Trier, was murdered by a young man who broke into his home probably to commit a robbery on 10 April at Belém in the north of Brazil. Fr Herrmann was born in Bad Kreuznach (Germany) he was ordained a priest in 1985 for the diocese of Trier. In 1995 he as sent as a Fidei donum missionary to work in the diocese of Parnaiba in Brazil. He returned in 2000 to the diocese of Trier, where he served as parish priest in a number of parishes until September 2006 when he returned to Brazil.
see Agenzia Fides 12/4/2007

Rev Salvador Herandez Seller, aged 75, found dead in his home in Murcia, Spain on 11 April 2007, reportedly died of blows to the head. A happy, generous and peace-loving and tolerant person the priest came from Cehegin. Ordained a priest in 1959, he went in 1962 on mission to Ecuador, as a member of the Organisation of Hispanic-American Priestly Cooperation OCSHA. He returned to Spain 19 years ago to serve as parish priest and chaplain for immigrants.

Rev. Humberto Macias Rosales, from Mexico, aged 52, was shot three times on 1 May 2007 at Aguascalientes (Mexico) not far from his home by an unidentified gunman. Immediately rushed to hospital, he died shortly afterwards. Parish priest of Our Lady of the Light at Aguascalientes, the priest was admired and respected by the local community and by his brother priests for his spirit of service and intense work of evangelisation.

Just after noon on Sunday 3 June 2007, in front of the Chaldean Catholic church of the Holy Spirit in a Mosul (Iraq), following the celebration of Mass, the parish priest, Rev. Raghiid Ganni and three deacons: Basman Yousef Daoud, Ghasan Bidawid and Wahid Hanna were attacked by a gunman. The four were about get into a car when a man drew near and opened fire killing all four of the clerics. Fr. Ganni was the first Catholic priest to be killed in Iraq. The Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans Mar Emmanuel III Delly and the Bishops of the Patriarchal Synod affirmed in a statement after the tragedy: “This was a shameful crime which must be rejected by every person of conscience. The perpetrators committed a horrible action against God and against humanity, against their brothers who were faithful and peace loving citizens as well as being men of religion who faithfully offered prayers to Almighty God to restore peace, security and stability to all Iraq”.
see Agenzia Fides 4/6/2007

Justin Daniel Bataclan, aged 20, Philippines, a seminarian of the Society of St Paul, was murdered in the evening of 7 June 2007 by a robber who broke into the family home where the student was on vacation, a Cubao, Quezon City (Metro Manila). Hearing noises, Justin went to find out what was happening, in the kitchen he was attacked by a thief and died of numerous injuries received. He was due to end his holidays the next day and return St Paul's Vocation Centre at Silang to start his fourth year of formation. Justin was a quiet, diligent, trustworthy person who applied himself to his studies. An expert in computers, Justine had been put in charge of the College computer-study section. His passion was photography.

Brother Enrique Alberto Olano Merino, from San Salvador, aged 29, of the Little Brothers of Mary, was killed during the night of 9 June in Guatemala City, probably by criminals. While returning to his residence with a few confreres, Brother Enrique was attacked by two thieves. At the same time two men in a car drove up and shot at the group from a close range killing the Brother. In Guatemala for seven years, besides teaching at a local high school, Brother Enrique was involved in pastoral care for young people.

The dead body of Rev. Tomas Perez, aged 75, parish priest at Villafranca de Cordoba (Spain), was found with evident signs of violence in the priest's apartment in the morning of 16 July 2007 by a housekeeper. The local community of about 4,000 people is very peaceful and the priest had ministered here for over 30 years. A statement issued by the Bishop of Cordoba's Office said the priest was “of an open and affable character, a person well known and loved by the local people among whom he exercised his priestly ministry ”.

Rev. Fernando Sanchez Duran, parish priest at Santiago Tlaltepoxco parish, at Tepeji del Rio, a northern district of Mexico City, was taken hostage and killed on 22 July 2007. His brother reported his disappearance a few hours earlier, adding that the parish car, television set and computer were also missing. The police found the priest's body in a pond, the death was said to be caused by suffocation. For the parishioners Fr. Fernando was an exemplary priest, known for his tireless efforts to help young people caught in the trap of drug abuse.

Rev. Ricardo Junious, OMI, aged 70, born in the United States, was found dead on 29 July in the priests' house of the parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe in the San Rafael district of Mexico City. A confrere found the body of the priest on the dormitory floor with hands and feet tied, the priest had been strangled and there were evident signs of torture. Highly esteemed for his missionary work and pastoral zeal and assistance for the poor, in recent times Fr. Ricardo had been fighting drug trafficking and selling of alcohol to minors which was happening around his parish.

Rev. Florante Rigonan, aged 48, from the Philippines, parish priest at St Isidore parish in Pinili (Llocos Norte Province, in the northern Philippines), was attacked and shot dead just before midnight on 27 August as he returned home after saying evening Mass and having supper with some friends. The police said as the priest got into his van he was shot in the back several times. The van was founded completely empty of all its contents. Fr Rigonan entered the seminary after studying medicine, ordained in 1997, since 2000 he had been parish priest at Pinili.

Rev. Nicholaspillai Packiyaranjith, diocesan priest and coordinator of the Jesuit Refugee Service in the Mannar district of Sri Lanka, was killed when a bomb exploded on the road he was travelling to offer assistance at a camp for refugees and an orphanage at Vidathalvu. The local Catholic community, which held Fr. Nicholas in high esteem, was deeply shocked by the news of the deadly explosion on the Poonery Road, near Kalvi’laan, in the evening of 26 September. In a message of condolence Archbishop Oswald Gomis of Colombo, said: “ We are all deeply shocked by the tragic death of Fr. Nicholas. We condemn these acts of violence which inflict suffering and grief on innocent civilians. We express sincere sympathy to Bishop Rayappu Joseph of Mannar diocese, the clergy, the faithful and to Fr. Packiyaranjith's family”. “With gratitude for his work as a priest committed to assisting the people we offer fervent prayers to God the Father of Mercies that he may grant eternal rest to Fr. Packiyaranjith and spiritual consolation to those who mourn for him” the Archbishop concluded.
see Agenzia Fides 27/9/2007

Fr. Allard Msheyene, 'Mako', a South African Oblate Missionary of Mary Immaculate (OMI), Sudafricano, died on 6 October 2007 after being attacked an shot and killed by roadside carjackers on October 5. OMI sources reported that, Associate Novice Master, Fr. Allard had gone to lend weekend help at St. Peter’s parish in Nelspruit 330 km east of Johannesburg. After celebrating a Friday evening liturgy at 18:00 in Ka Nyamazane, he took a young man home and then was returning to the parish. A short time later, he was found lying by the road at Msogwaba township, and was taken at 19:30 by ambulance to Themba Hospital, Kabokweni. He was soon transferred to a larger hospital in Nelspruit, where he underwent emergency surgery but died in the early hours of the morning of October 6. Car-jacking in South Africa is widespread with more than 12,000 cases every year, although in recent years since a peak 16,000 in 1998 they have diminished slightly in number.
see Agenzia Fides 10/10/2007

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