ROME, JAN. 1, 2012 (Zenit.org).- The Fides news agency has published a list of pastoral workers who were killed during the last year. Not all of them were martyrs in the strict sense, as Fides lists all those who lost their lives in a violent manner.
In 2011, 26 pastoral care workers were killed: one more than the previous year: 18 priests, four religious sisters and four laypeople. For the third consecutive year, the place with the most deaths was the American continent, with the deaths of 13 priests and two laypersons.
Following was Africa, where six pastoral workers were killed: two priests, three religious sisters, and one layperson. In Asia two priests, one religious sister, and one layperson were killed. The least affected continent was Europe, where one priest was killed.
Many of them were killed in the course of attempted robbery or kidnapping. Others, the Fides report said, “were killed in the name of Christ by those opposing love with hatred, hope with despair, dialogue with violent opposition.”
The Fides report cited the words spoken on Dec. 26 by Benedict XVI, during his Angelus message on the day of the liturgical feast of the martyr Stephen: “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 occasionally exposed to persecution and martyrdom. But, the Lord reminds us, ‘he who endures to the end shall be saved’ (Matthew 10:22).”
In America, the most violent country was Colombia with seven deaths out of the overall total of 15. Mexico was in second place with five. Brazil, Paraguay and Nicaragua each accounted for one death. Those killed were the following:
Colombia: 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 Eudista was murdered in the street 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, found covered with wounds and knifed to death in the rectory of his parish. A layperson, Luis Eduardo Garcia, a member of the social pastoral ministry, attacked by a group of guerrillas, kidnapped and then killed.
Mexico: Fr. Santos Sánchez Hernández, attacked by an intruder who entered his house, most likely to steal; Fr. Francisco Sánchez 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; Fr. Marco Antonio Duran Romero, killed in a gunfight between soldiers and an armed group. A laywoman, Mary Elizabeth Macías Castro, of the Scalabrinian Lay Movement, kidnapped by a group of drug dealers and brutally killed.
Brazil: Fr. Romeu Drago was killed in his home. His body was then brought to about 25 kilometers (15 miles) from his home, where he was burned.
Paraguay: Monsignor Julio César Álvarez was killed. His body was found in his room, hand and foot bound, with injuries and scratches and strangled.
Nicaragua; Fr. Marlon Ernesto Pupiro García was kidnapped and killed .
The killings took place in Burundi (2) and one each in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Southern Sudan, Tunisia, Kenya.
Tunisia: Fr. Marek Rybinsk was killed, a Salesian missionary, whose body was found dead in a local Salesian school of Manouba.
Kenya: Fr. Awuor Kiser was attacked in a suburb of the Kenyan capital.
Congo: Sister Jeanne Yegmane was killed in an ambush.
South Sudan: Sister Angelina, while bringing medical aid to refugees.
Burundi: during a robbery attempt Sister Lukrecija Mamica, of the “Sisters of Charity” and Francesco Bazzani, a volunteer.
In Asia there were four deaths, three in India and one in the Philippines.
India: Fr. G. Amalan was killed in his room by a person who escaped with a few rupees found in the home; Sister Valsha John, who worked among the poor and tribal people, killed in her home, a catechist and lay activist Rabindra Parichha, kidnapped and killed.
Philippines: Fr. Fausto Tentorio, PIME missionary was killed, while on his way to a priests’ meeting, two gunmen shot him in the head and back.
The sole death in Europe was in Spain, Fr. Ricardo Muñoz Juarez was killed by thieves who broke into his home.