Colombian Press Describes Kidnapped Priest As "Apostle Of Poor"

BOGOTA, NOVEMBER 13, 2002 ( Fr. Desiderio Orjuela, kidnapped Monday, has dedicated 44 of his 78 years to religious mission, all in the village of Pacho, Cundinamarca, where he is known for his selflessness and conciliation.

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Fr. Orjuela was accompanying Bishop Jorge Enrique Jiménez of Zipaquira, to a Confirmation Monday, when he was kidnapped by members of the Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia (FARC).

For 42 years, Fr. Orjuela was Rector of Pius XII school, a responsibility he alternated with his pastoral activity. Two years ago, he was appointed parish priest of St. Anthony of Padua church in Pacho, with responsibilities in eight municipalities.

“Not a week went by that he did not travel to some village of the province. He visited the parishes and their communities, especially all those of El Penon, Topaipi, Paime, and the inspection of Pasuncha,” the faithful said on Tuesday, offering a Mass, attended by 6,000, for their priest’s speedy return.

“He goes without food to give it to the neediest people. We love him in Pacho and because of this, we ask that his life be respected,” a Pacho resident said, when commenting on the abduction with the local press. On Wednesday, the newspaper “El Tiempo” described the kidnapped priest as an “Apostle of the Poor.”

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