French Priest Killed in South Africa

Called a «Pioneering Missionary»

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DIEPSLOOT, South Africa, DEC. 8, 2009 ( French Father Louis Blondel of the Missionaries of Africa was shot in his presbytery in Diepsloot Sunday night.

Three boys broke into the 70-year-old priest’s home through a forced window that night while an older accomplice waited outside, the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference reported.

Father Guido Bourgeois, who lived in the same house, woke up first, and the boys robbed him of some money and his cellular phone.

They next went to the bedroom of Father Blondel, and when he opened the door, they shot him.

Father Bourgeois was able to escape to the kitchen, where he blocked the door with the refrigerator and called for help. Neighbors came to aid the priest, but were scared away by the sound of more gunshots.

When the burglars left, Father Bourgeois came out and found his confrere lying dead in his room.

Father Sean O’Leary, superior of the congregation in South Africa, was notified and he arrived soon after, along with the police.

In the press release, the superior acknowledged that the deceased missionary had big plans for the area, which, «Alas,» were «not to be.»

He continued: «Louis returns to his maker as a true pioneering missionary who dedicated all his life to the poorest of the poor. He remains one of our unsung heroes.»

Father Blondel spent some of his missionary years in Tanzania, before moving to South Africa in 1987. He took up residence in Diepsloot in 2008, where he built a church and a community house.

He is the fourth Catholic priest to be killed in South Africa this year.

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