Ireland Mourns Slain Missionary

Was Set to Come Home to Retire Next Year

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DUBLIN, Ireland, DEC. 14, 2009 ( The death of an Irish missionary in Africa is a reminder of the «great sacrifice» made by those who are «answering God’s call to bring the Good News» to the poor, says Cardinal Sean Brady.

The president of the Irish episcopal conference affirmed this in a statement today regarding the Friday murder of Father Jeremiah Roche in Kericho, Kenya.

During his traditional Angelus address Sunday, the Pope also mentioned the priest’s death, along with three other missionaries who were killed this week in Africa.

Cardinal Brady noted how the death of Father Roche was vicious and surrounded by «gruesome circumstances,» and he also recalled how the priest was expected to retire to his home parish of Athea in County Limerick next year.

The priest had already served in Africa for more than 40 years with the St. Patrick’s Missionary Society (Kiltegan Fathers).

«Father Roche’s death is a reminder to us of the great sacrifice of those who risk their lives answering God’s call to bring the Good News to the poorest of the poor around the world,» Cardinal Brady affirmed. «I pray especially for the safety of our religious and lay missionaries who work under the threat of violence in their communities.»

Ireland’s minister for foreign affairs, Micheal Martin, said in a statement that he had spoken with Father Roche’s family and religious brothers to convey sympathies. He also assured that there will be close contact with Kenyan authorities «to ensure that a full investigation is carried out and that every effort is made to apprehend Father Roche’s attackers.»

Initial investigations indicate that the motive in the priest’s murder might have been robbery.

According to the Fides news agency, President Mary McAleese also offered her sympathies: «Our thoughts and prayers are especially with the Roche family as they face this sad loss and tragic news.»

There is a report that the same attackers attempted Sunday to rob an AIDS hospital run by a Scottish nun, Sister Placida McCann, but were unsuccessful. No one was harmed in that attack.

Father Roche, one of 11 siblings, will be buried in Ireland.

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