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[This webpage is in memory of our Catholic brothers and sisters in Christ who have shed their blood for the Catholic Faith, having persevered in Christlikeness until the end. May the peace and joy of the Heavenly Kingdom be theirs for eternity.]
(Please report any errors or omissions by contacting us at our Email Address.)
LIST OF MARTYRS:
2007/10/06, Fr. Allard Msheyene, 'Mako', a South African Oblate Missionary of Mary Immaculate (OMI), Sudafricano, died 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.
2007/09/26, 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 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”.
2007/08/27, 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 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.
2007/07/29, Rev. Ricardo Junious, OMI, aged 70, born in the United States, was found dead 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.
2007/07/22, 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. 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.
2007/07/16, 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 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 ”.
2007/06/09, Brother Enrique Alberto Olano Merino, from San Salvador, aged 29, of the Little Brothers of Mary, was killed during the night 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.
2007/06/07, Justin Daniel Bataclan, aged 20, Philippines, a seminarian of the Society of St Paul, was murdered during the evening 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.
2007/06/03, Just after noon on Sunday, 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 to 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”.
2007/05/01, Rev. Humberto Macias Rosales, from Mexico, aged 52, was shot three times 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.
2007/04/20, 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.
2007/04/11, Spanish born Rev Salvador Herandez Seller, aged 75, found dead in his home in Murcia, Spain, 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.
2007/04/10, 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 at Belém in the north of Brazil. Fr Herrmann was born in Bad Kreuznach (Germany), and 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.
2007/04/01, Sr Anne Thole, aged 35, was 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 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.
2007/04/01, Fr. Fransiskus Madhu, aged 30, Divine Word Missionary (SVD) born in Flores (Indonesia), was killed on Palm Sunday, 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.
2007/03/11, Fr. José Luis Camacho Cepeda, aged 54, Peruvian, was stabbed to death during the night 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.
2007/03/10, Fr. Martin Addai, Ghanaian age 46, a member of the Missionaries of Africa, (or White Fathers) was killed 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.
2007/02/15, Fr. Mario Bianco, a ninety year old Italian Consolata missionary, died in Manizales, Colombia after being attacked by thieves ten days earlier on 4 February. 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.
2006/12/08, Johnny Morales, aged 34, Salesian Cooperator in Guatemala was killed in an ambush. The vehicle in which he was travelling was sprayed with bullets and Mr Morales died instantly. Johnny Morales and his wife, also a Salesian Cooperator, helped at the Fr. Sergio Checchi Salesian Centre. They had been married for a year. Mr Morales was employed by the local Tax office and two days earlier had accepted to work at the Tecún Umám border with Mexico where there is a problem of drug trafficking and smuggling. It seems the man was killed because of his honesty. He refused to be involved in illegal activity and was a fervent upholder of honesty and justice.
2006/11/26, Jacob Fernandez, a lay Catholic, who worked in a Religious Bookshop at the Shrine of Mount St Thomas in Chennai, in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu was murdered. He was attacked and killed for no reason in front of a crowd of terrified eyewitnesses present in the bookshop. Reportedly the assailant, in a state of violent excitement, demanded to see the parish priest and loudly claimed the Shrine area as Hindu property. The police said the suspect arrested was “mentally instable”, but local Catholics know the man as a fanatical extremist in contact with anti-social groups. Mr Fernandez was known as a devout Catholic who attended daily Mass at the Shrine and lived his life as a mission.
2006/11/06, Fr Waldyr dos Santos, Brazilian Jesuit, aged 69, and lay volunteer Ms Idalina Neto Gomes, aged 30, were killed and other persons were wounded in an attack on Angone Residence in Tete Province in Mozambique on Monday 6 November. The bandits escaped with the community vehicle. Idalina Neto Gomes a lawyer and a member of the Portuguese association Laity for Development, was staying other members of the Association at the Jesuit community. Tete province which borders with Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe, is a zone of bandits and attacks on Catholic missions and religious community houses are frequent. The Jesuits have a long history of service in this area in the fields of evangelisation, education, healthcare and development programmes.
2006/10/31, Rev Pascal Koné Naougnon, aged 51, of the diocese of Callao, Peru, was killed at Divo, Cote d’Ivoire, where he had been on mission since 2003. He was attacked by robbers at Holy Family Parish, Divo. The priest was about to go to bed when he heard some noise in the living room and went to investigate. He found himself face to face with the thieves who did not hesitate to open fire. Taken by his confreres to hospital, the priest died of his wounds. Born in Bouake Cote d’Ivoire to Animist parents, at the age of twelve he asked to be baptised. At 25 he joined the New Catechumen Way and discovered his calling to the priesthood. In 1990, he was sent to Peru to study for the priesthood at Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Callao. In 1999 he was ordained for the diocese of Callao and served in various parishes distinguishing himself for his generous spirit of service. In 2003, at the request of the Bishop of Gagnoa, Rev Pascal was sent to minister at Holy Family parish Divo, in Cote d’Ivoire. He was esteemed by all for his simple manner and commitment for human promotion. He spent much time helping school drop outs to specialise in a trade and find a job.
2006/09/25, Rev. Ricardo Antonio Romero, aged 53, Salvadorian, beaten and stoned to death and abandoned in the early hours on the road which goes from Acajutia to Sonsonate, El Salvador. The priest’s lifeless body was found close to his jeep. The police suspect one of the many youth gangs in the area. Rev. Romero, parish priest at Santa Catarina Masahuat, diocese of Sonsonate, was known for his tireless work to evangelise and to assist the poor.
2006/09/17, Sr. Leonella Sgorbati, Italian Consolata Missionary, aged 66, was murdered in Mogadishu, Somalia, by two gunmen hidden behind a car waiting for her as she made her way to the hospital where she worked. Sr. Sgorbati first went on mission to Kenya where she served between 1970 and 1983 at three Consolata Hospitals in Mathari, Nyeri and Nazareth outer districts of Nairobi. In 1985 she became head teacher at the nursing school at Consolata Hospital in Meru, Nkubu. On 26 November 1993 she was elected regional superior of the Consolata Missionary Sisters in Kenya, a position which she held for 6 years. In 2001 Sr Leonella spent several months in Mogadishu in view of opening a School for Nurses at a local hospital run by an NGO. The first course started on 18 April 2002 and the first nurses received their diplomas in 2006. In August after struggling with endless red tape, Sr Lonella succeeded in obtaining World Health Organisation recognition for her courses and new nurses.
2006/08/28, Brother Augustine Taiwa, aged 40, a member of the St John of God Brothers Hospitaller Brothers, was murdered during the evening near Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea. He was attacked near the Xavier Institute at Bomana, where he had been attached as co-ordinator for pastoral courses at the institute for the past three years. Brother Taiwa, originally from New East Britain was known and loved by the local people and was probably driving at low speed to avoid the many street vendors. Three apparently drunken youths were throwing stones and other objects at passing cars and one threw a spear at Brother Taiwa’s car. The spear went through the head of the Religious killing him instantly. The police intervened immediately rushing the Brother to hospital, but all the doctors there could do was to confirm his death.
2006/08/04, Rev. Chidi Okorie, a Nigerian priest, aged 31, killed during the night in his room at the priests house adjacent to St. Mary’s Catholic parish church at Afikpo, Ebonyi State, Nigeria. The priest, stabbed by the aggressors, probably robbers since money and other objects were taken, died of his wounds in hospital. Father Okorie had only been a priest for two years, having been ordained in 2004.
2006/07/31, Rev. John Mutiso Kivaya, 35, Kenyan priest assistant at Masinga Catholic parish, Kenya, was murdered at Tala, diocese of Machakos, during the night by bandits who assaulted a restaurant where Fr Kivaya and two other priests were eating a meal. The priest was in his home two Tala to visit his family. The bandits took money and mobile telephones before killing the priest and two other persons and wounding three.
2006/06/28, Friar Luis Alfonso Herrera Moreno, Franciscan (OFM) Colombian, aged 46, stoned to death in a place called Bonda, Colombia. Friar Moreno was bursar at San Luis Beltran College, run by the Franciscan community of Santa Marta. On 28 June he went by car to do some errands. The next day he was found dead. The police suspect he was killed by robbers.
2006/05/11, Rev. Jude Kimeli Kibor, Kenyan priest, aged 57, was active in prison pastoral care. He was found dead near Eldoret, probably killed by thieves while on his way to say Mass. The priest’s car was found ten kilometres away from his body and his briefcase was missing. Fr. Kibor studied in Springfield (USA) while ministering in various parishes. Aware of the risks and dangers, he had returned to Kenya to help his own people.
2006/05/09, Rev. Josè Carlos Cearense, Brazilian diocesan priest aged 44, was found dead in his room in the parish house next to Santa Maria dos Anjos church in Delta, Minas Gerais state, Brazil where he was parish priest. The priest had died of stab wounds and his hands were tied behind his back. His body was discovered by the cleaning woman. The murder reportedly took place around 10pm on 8 May. Some days later the police arrested a man on charges of several murders in late April and early May.
2006/04/24, Rev. Jorge Piñango Mascareño, under secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Venezuela, was found dead on Monday 24 April 2006 in Caracas. A Conference statement said: “The human and priestly life of Fr Piñango was marked by over 20 years of priestly ministry, a spirit of the Beatitudes and a clear vocation to serve. The competent authorities will investigate the cause of his death which happened under strange circumstances. For our part we are ready to cooperate if necessary and to guarantee that truth and justice are respected”. Fr. Jorge Piñango Mascareño was born in 1959 in Barquisimeto and ordained a priest on 10 August 1985. He studied for the priesthood at the Javeriana University Colombia and the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. He had been a docent at a number of universities and Seminaries. He was appointed under secretary of the Venezuelan Bishops’ Conference in 2002.
2006/04/??, Rev. Galgalo Boru, A Kenyan priest from the parish of Bulesa, apostolic Vicariate of Isolo, Kenya, killed during the month in Lososia, Samburu district by bandits who attacked his car opening fire on both sides of the road. A passenger in the car was also killed.
2006/04/14, Sr. Karen Klimczak, 62, a member of the Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Joseph (SSJ), was killed Buffalo, state of New York (USA), on Good Friday. The nun had dedicated her life to helping the poor. Sr Klimczak was a member of the staff at Bissonette House for the rehabilitation of former prisoners. One of the inmates wanted to rob her and killed her and hid her body in an empty house a few miles from Bissonette House, where it was found on Easter Sunday. Sister Klimczak was known in Buffalo for her work to help the poor and promote peace.
2006/04/12, Rev. Luis Montenegro, aged 77, more than 30 years as parish priest at Nuestra Senora del Rosario a La Calera, near Cordoba, Argentina, found dead early in the morning. He had been stabbed to death in his sleep. Police charged and arrested a young man a previous offender.
2006/03/30, Mgr. Bruno Baldacci, Fidei Revum priest from the diocese of La Spezia Italy, aged 63, was found dead in his room at the parish of Nossa Senhora das Candeias where he served as parish priest, at Vitória da Conquista, Bahia State, Brazil. His secretary and housekeeper found him on his bed with evident signs of beating and the room was in a shambles. Mgr Baldacci spent 42 years on mission in Brazil, where he came following a missionary bishop and where he was ordained a priest in 1968. In recent years he dedicated himself to caring for the poor and rehabilitating young drug addicts.
2006/03/17, Fr. Eusebio Ferrao, aged 61, parish priest at St Francis, Macasana, southern Goa, India, was killed during the night. When the priest failed to appear for morning Mass, a few of the parishioners went to look for him and found him dead in his room, apparently suffocated with a pillow. According to the people Fr. Ferrao was a man of peace and had no enemies. He was a member of the diocesan Commission for liturgy and served his parish community of about 3,200 faithful with zeal and humility.
2006/03/10, Sr. Maria Yermine Yamlean, aged 33, a member of the congregation of the Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred (DNDSC), born in Arui Das-Ambon (InRevesia) and living at a convent in Jalan Pattimura, Ambon, capital of the Moluccas Islands, was killed. The nun caught an intruder in the convent who reacted violently stabbing her with a knife. When the other Sisters found her she was in a serious condition. She was rushed to hospital where she died. Sr Yermine Yamlean was very active in pastoral care and the local Catholic Charismatic Renewal group, she was a member of the Provincial Council of her Congregation, Vice superior of the DNDSC Community in Ambon and guide for the formation of aspirants.
2006/02/18, Rev. Michael Gajere, Nigerian priest, killed by a gang of armed men in Maiduguri, capital of the Nigerian state of Borno during violence which erupted following a peaceful demonstration. At least 15 people were killed in the violence, 4 Catholic churches were torched, the Bishops’ residence, homes and structures belonging to other Christian denominations. Only last month the priest, ordained 14 years ago, had been appointed parish priest at Santa Rita parish in the Bulunkutu district of Maiduguri. Before being shot Fr Michael helped the leaders of the parish youth group to reach safety.
2006/02/09, Fr. José Alfonso Moreira, a member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans), of Portuguese nationality, killed at his home in Bailundo, Angola. The 80 year old missionary, (40 years spent on mission in Bailundo), died of 7 gun wounds shot at close range. The missionary had just gone to bed when about 15 armed men broke into his room and shot him dead without even giving him time to get out of bed and then sacked the modest dwelling. Fr. Moreira was loved by all for his witness of service and love for mission even in times of difficulty. During the long years of civil war 1975-2002. Bailundo was occupied by the UNITA rebel forces (National Union for Total Independence of Angola) and then by the regular army. Nevertheless Fr. Moreira remained neutral, refusing any comprise so he could continue to announce the Gospel and serve others in the freedom of the children of God.
2006/02/05, Fr. Andrea Santoro, Fidei Revum priest from the diocese of Rome, killed in Trabzon, Turkey while praying after Mass in Saint Mary’s Catholic Church in Kilisesi. Rev Santoro was born in Priverno, 7 September 1945 and ordained on 18 October 1970. After serving in various parishes in Rome in 2000 he went to Turkey to serve as a Fidei Revum missionary, in Trabzon, on the coast of the Black Sea, where he was entrusted with St Mary’s Catholic Church, Kilisesi. In 2003 he started an association “Finestra per il Medio Oriente”: a group for study, prayer and dialogue between the western world and the Middle East. Rev Andrea was killed only days after returning to Turkey having made his usual annual week’s visit to Italy to lead days of study and prayer.
2006/02/04, Fr. Elie Koma, Society of Jesus (SJ), a Burundian aged 59, killed in the capital Bujumbura, during the Saturday evening. The priest was shot dead while driving in his car in central Bujumbura, after a group of armed men opened fire on Major Ruguraguza of the Burundian army and his wife. It appears that Fr Koma was eliminated because he was a potential witness of the crime. The bandits shot the tires of his car and then shot him five times in the back. He was ordained in 1980, and for the past 3 years in charge of the Jesuit church in Kamengem one of Bujumbura’s poorest districts.
2005/12/28, Sr. Margaret Branchen, Swiss born, aged 74, a member of the Society of Saint Ursula of Brigue (Canton Valais), was hot dead in the small town of Ngqeleni, East Cape, South Africa, on the premises of St. Mary’s Clinic where she served as a nurse and midwife. Sr. Margaret had worked for many years in South Africa where the Ursuline Sisters of Brigue have six communities. According to the authorities the nun was killed during a burglary.
2005/12/25, Fr. Philip Valayam, 46, Salesian priest (SDB), was killed in the early hours as he was returning to his community at Don Bosco Youth Educational Services, Nairobi, Kenya, after celebrating midnight mass. Reportedly the priest was attacked by robbers and shot in a struggle to defend himself. Fr Valayam was well known and appreciated.
2005/11/11, Sr. Margarita Vásquez Sandino, 87, a Good Shepherd Sister, was killed while caring for sick Sister at the community home in Medellin, Colombia. She was attacked by a young man who had done some painting work for the Sisters and who probably intended to steal. Sr Margarita organised a regular Christmas campaign in aid of children mutilated by antipersonnel mines.
2005/10/27, Brother Suresh Barwa, 31, and Brother Marco Candelario Lasbuna, 22, were murdered in Kingston, Jamaica. The Brothers were Missionaries of the Poor MOP, a congregation of diocesan right whose members work among the poor and excluded people in Jamaica, and also in India, Uganda and the Philippines. The Brothers were with other people in the kitchen of Corpus Christi MOP House in central Kingston. The Brothers were shot dead by the same bullet as they washed up after a party for one of the confreres. Brother Marco from the Philippines had been in Kingston for 5 months and Brother Suresh from India had been there for two years.
2005/10/25, Rev. Luis Velasquez Romero, 51, a Mexican priest from the diocese of Tijuana, was found in a car at a shopping centre in the morning, shot dead with his hands tied. The priest who ministered in a parish in the Colinas district of Agua Caliente de Tijuana was a judge of the Diocesan Court and was much loved by the people. Tijuana a town on the border with the United States is known as a centre of urban violence and clashes between gangs of drug traffickers.
2005/09/12, Fr. Angelo Redaelli, 40, of the Lombardy province of Friars minor was killed by a mob after accidentally killing a little child with his car who ran unexpectedly into the road as he drove through a village 30 km from Owando in central north Congo Brazzaville. He was killed while on his way to a local School for Catechists.
2005/09/02, Rev. Giuseppe Bessone, fidei donum priest from the Italian diocese of Pinerolo, was stabbed to death during the night in his lodgings at St Antonio parish at Blumenau (Brazil) where he was parish priest. The murderer, a 16 year old boy who had been taken in by the priest was arrested. He told the police that he attacked the priest because he wanted money.
2005/08/??, Rev. Francois Djikulo, was a Congolese priest of the diocese of Manono (Democratic Congo). In August, on his own initiative, he went on a peace mission to try to convince the feared rebel leader Kyungu Kyungu, alias Gedeon, to disarm and stop terrorising the local people. For months nothing was heard of his whereabouts. Only in November was it known that Fr. Djikulo and his companion Simon Kayimbi had been savagely mutilated and then burned alive in Mutendele, district of Pweto, about 75 km from the parish of Dubie diocese of Kilwa Kasenga.
2005/08/18, Rev. Jesus Adrian Sanchez, 32, Colombian from the diocese of Espinal (Tolima), parish priest at El Limon, was killed while giving a class of religious instruction at Camacho Angarita school in the rural area of Chaparral (Tolima). Around 10 in the morning, a man broke into the classroom, ordered the priest to go outside and shot him dead. The priest was involved in the pastoral care of local youths whom he tried to persuade not to join the ranks of the guerrillas and criminals but to continue studies.
2005/08/15, Rev. Vicente Rozo Bayona, 50, and Fr. Jesus Emilio Mora, 65, Colombian priests of the diocese of Ocaña, parish priests of the only two parishes in Convencion, were killed in the morning on the way to a celebration. The car in which they were travelling was attacked by guerrillas on the Teorema-Convencion road, El Diviso area, in Colombia. The priests and two passengers, surveyors charged with building an army barracks in the area, were shot dead by machine gun fire. The following day the ELN guerrillas issued a statement claiming responsibility for the murder but stating that it was a tragic mistake due to the conflict in the area.
2005/08/02, Rev. Godwin Okwesili, 42, Nigerian, was killed at St. Dominic Catholic Church in Yaba, Lagos (Nigeria). In the afternoon three young men appeared at the priests’ house under the pretence of delivering a parcel to one of the priests and started an argument. When Fr Okwesili came out of his room to see what was happening he was shot dead in the doorway.
2005/07/25, Rev. Paulo Henrique Machado, 36, Brazilian, assistant co-ordinator for pastoral in Nova Iguacu district, was killed by a commando. His body was found in his automobile under a railway bridge in the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro. Although the priest’s wristwatch, mobile and wallet were missing, he was probably murdered by local criminals for his activity to promote respect for human rights. He was known as a happy and committed priest who instilled peace among the poor people he served. He was part of a support-group for families of the victims of a massacre in the Nova Iguacu district one of the most violent in the capital and had repeatedly denounced drug traffickers for abuse.
2005/04/14, Bishop Luigi Locati, vicar apostolic of Isolo, North East Kenya, was shot dead in front of the local Pastoral centre. Bishop Locati, aged 77 was from the Italian diocese of Vercelli and had been on mission in Kenya for forty years where he was sent as a Fidei Donum priest. He was about to retire having reached the age limit. Even as a bishop he continued to live very simply. He was known as a man of honesty and a champion of justice. Having received several death threats Bishop Locati had to be accompanied by two body guards when he went out in the evening.
2005/06/04, Rev. Robert De Leener, 54 from Brussels in (Belgium), was murdered during the night by an immigrant who had been staying at the parish house while waiting for a residence permit. Fr. De Leener was parish priest at Holy Cross parish Watermael-Boitsfort, Brussels and helped at other parishes. The immigrant had been sent away from the parish house the day before for bad conduct. He returned the next day and stabbed the priest to death in front of the victim’s elderly mother. Parishioners said the priest was too good and opened to door to anyone who asked for help.
2005/05/07, Fr. René de Haes, 72, a Belgian Jesuit, was shot dead by two armed men during the late evening while he was driving back to the college where he was living in the Kimwenza district in northern Kinshasa, capital of Democratic Congo. In Africa, since 1959, he was known for his activity as a teacher and as the author of various theological works, Traditional African religions and pseudo religious sects. He was also very active in the social field.
2005/05/01, Rev. Mathew Uzhuthal, Vicar general of the diocese of Patna, Bihar state, died of stab wounds suffered on 11 April in his parish office. The assassin was a local youth in search of money. He was at first rushed to the small local Nazareth Hospital, and then later moved to the more specialised Kurji Holy Family Hospital. He died after an agony of 19 days and will be remembered as a passionate and tireless missionary. He was ordained a priest in 1964 by Pope Paul VI during an International Eucharistic Congress in Bombay.
2005/02/12, Sr Dorothy Stang, 73, was born in the United States of America, naturalised Brazilian a Sister of Notre Dame. She was shot dead in the town of Anapu, in the western Brazilian state of Parà. For over twenty years, she had been a member of the local diocesan Pastoral Commission for Land Rights in support of peasant labourers in the Trans Amazon region of Para state. Because she courageously denounced fazendeiros and grileiros for violence, she received many threats to her life since 1999. She had in fact filed a report of the threats received on February 9, only a few days before she was assassinated.
2005/02/06, Rev. Manuel Delgado, OFM, 42, was found dead in the town of Bufalo, Ciudad Jiménez, Chihuahua state in Mexico following an anonymous phone call. According to the post mortem the priest died on 5 February of numerous stab wounds and the body showed signs of torture. The priest, who was wearing civilian clothes when he was killed, was from Tampico, Tamaulipas, north Mexico. He was parish priest of the church of Santo Cristo de Burgos. According to the investigators the attackers were thieves.
2005/01/20, Rev. Jan Hermanovsky, 70, Slovakian, was killed by two young thieves who broke into the parish house in the town of Brjansk (Russia). Rev. Jan was committed to promoting Christian unity and totally dedicated to helping the poor and the outcasts.
2005/01/14, Rev. Thomas Harsidiyono, 50, Indonesian, was found dead in his parish at Purworejo (central Java). He was probably murdered by thieves. He died of serious head injuries. People who knew the priest, said he had no enemies and had not received threats of any kind.
2005/01/13, Fr. Thomas Richard Heath, Dominican, from the USA, aged 85, on mission for 13 years in Kenya after 10 in South Africa and Lesotho, he died of gun shot wounds suffered on January 4 during a robbery in the Community House in Kisumu where he was living. A deeply appreciated preacher and teacher, he formed whole generations of Kenyan priests. In his Community he was admired for his fidelity to the religious life and his genuine concern for others.
2004/12/26, Sr. Christiane Philippon, French, aged 58, regional Superior of the Congregation of Notre Dame des Apôtres, killed about 3 in the morning in Chad, on the road from Ba Hilli to N’Djamena. Sr. Christiane was travelling with three other Sisters to the capital to attend in a meeting of her Congregation. The car was assaulted by bandits who opened fire and shot Christiane dead and wounded the other three nuns. Sr Christiane had been in Chad for 20 years and for the last 5 had been involved in family pastoral in the diocese of Sahr. A year ago she was elected president of the diocesan association of women religious.
2004/11/25, Father John Hannon, Irish aged 65, Missionary of the Society of African Missions was found dead at a social Centre still under construction at the parish of Saint Barnaba at Matasia (diocese of Ngong, Kenya), twenty kilometres from Nairobi. According to the police a gang of men entered the parish complex around midnight after tying up the watchman probably to steal and attacked and murdered the priest.
2004/11/17, Rev. Kazimir Viseticki, aged 66, was killed during the night. His body was found the next day bound and covered in blood in the house next to the parish where he was parish priest, Saint Roko in Bosanska Gradiska, northern Bosnia Herzegovina, close to the border with Croatia, diocese of Banja Luka. The priest was probably killed by thieves who reacted violently striking him with an iron rod when they were discovered.
2004/10/19, Rev. Gerard Nzeyimana, Burundian aged 65, Episcopal Vicar of the diocese of Bururi, was killed while travelling with other people in a car from Bururi to Bujumbura. A group of armed men stopped the car and told the occupants to hand over money and valuables. After carefully examining the priest’s identity papers they killed him in cold blood with a few shots in the head, leaving the other passengers beaten and bleeding on the roadside. Father Gerard was known for promoting peace and denouncing violence on civilians.
2004/10/18, Rev. Macrino Nájera Cisneros, Mexican, aged 42, parish priest at Jilotlan (Mexico), was assassinated during a reception following a First Communion Mass for defending a girl of 15 from a molester who insisted on dancing with her. The molester left the reception and returned with a gun. He shot the priest and two other people dead and wounded another girl.
2004/10/02, Rev. Gerard Fitzsimons, British, aged 63, was found dead at his home next to the church of St Mary and St Joseph in Colesberg, South Africa (diocese of De Aar). Father Gerard had been on mission in South Africa for 7 years and was involved in assisting the poor and people with HIV/AIDS.
2004/08/28, Rev. Job Chittilappilly, Indian, aged 71, was found dead with numerous stab wounds in his home next to the parish church of “Our Lady of Grace” in the village of Thuruthiparambu, Kerala (India). Father Job was attacked and murdered while reciting the rosary in preparation for the celebration of Mass. Nothing was stolen or misplaced in the house where he had lived for 45 years ministering to the Catholic community of Syro-Malabar rite. The priest had received threats and warnings to stop “proselytising”. Although during his home visits to the needy, the priest used to visit Hindu families, he never proselytised.
2004/08/16, Nasir Masih, a Pakistani Catholic, aged 26, was abducted from his home in the district of Baldia Siekhupoura, 45 km from Lahore, by a group of fundamentalist Muslims who accused him of stealing. A few hours later the police informed the family that the boy was under arrest. Three days later the police said Nasir Masih had died in prison. His body showed numerous wounds and bruises.
2004/08/03, Samuel Masih, a Catholic Pakistani youth arrested for blasphemy against the Prophet Mohammed in August 2003. He died in hospital after some months of treatment for serious injuries from beating and torture in prison by Islamic fundamentalist prison guards. The boy, already suffering from tuberculosis, was charged with blasphemy after the owner of bookshop told the police that he saw him depositing garbage near the walls of a mosque in Lahore.
2004/07/31, Rev. Eusebio Manuel Sazo Urbina, Guatemalan, aged 45, was parish priest at the “Divine Saviour of the World” church in the suburbs of Guatemala City. The priest, involved in promoting programmes for development and social assistance, had been called to assist an invalid. On the way from the parish to the sick person’s home he was attacked by a man who shot the priest in the neck and stomach apparently in an attempt to steal his mobile telephone. Taken to hospital the priest died of his wounds. His predecessor at the parish had been forced to leave after receiving threats to his life.
2004/07/24, Father Faustino Gazziero, Italian, aged 69, a member of the Servi di Maria, was stabbed to death at the end of evening Mass in the Cathedral of Santiago del Chile. As he was returning to the sacristy the priest was attacked and mortally stabbed several times by a young man of robust stature. Father Gazziero went on mission to Chile in 1960 immediately after his ordination. He held various responsibilities and for some years had been President of the Santa Teresa Foundation which ran several schools in Chile.
2004/07/06, Rev. Ramon Navarrete Islas, Mexican diocesan priest aged 56, found dead in the house next to the parish church where he was serving at Ciudad Juarez, near the Mexico-United States border. The body was found on the floor with numerous stab wounds in the chest. According to the police the murderer or murderers were robbers because the apartment was in disorder and the priest’s car was missing.
2004/05/02, Javed Anjum, a Catholic Pakistani student aged 19 from Quetta (Pakistan). He died in hospital from 26 stab wounds inflicted by a Muslim teacher and group of students from the Jamia Hassan bin Almurtaza School of Islam near Islamabad who tried to force him to convert to Islam. On 17 April the students abducted Javed and tortured him for five days until he was half dead. They then took him to the police station and reported that he had been caught stealing. The police took the boy to the hospital where he died ten days later of the wounds inflicted.
2004/03/31, Father Luciano Fulvi, Italian Comboni missionary, aged 76. His body was found in a pool of blood with a stab wound in the neck in his room at the Catholic Mission of Layibi, in the outskirts of Gulu (Uganda). The missionary had been in Uganda from 1956 to 1964 and then since 1990 and was mainly involved in education and more recently in vocation pastoral. He was known as a man of peace and joy with a smile for everyone although fully aware of the risks of missionary life in that region.