From Africa to America, from Asia to Europe, 22 Catholic church workers murdered in 2021

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Pope Francis delivers the homily during an evening prayer service in St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican on December 31, 2021. The traditional New Year’s Eve service is to give thanks for the past year. (CNS Photo / Remo Casilli, Reuters)

VATICAN CITY – In situations of extreme poverty, war or civil tensions, 22 employees of the Catholic Church were assassinated in 2021, according to Fides, the press agency of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

Presenting its annual list of missionaries killed in December 30, the news agency explained: Become missionary disciples.

None of the 13 priests, a religious brother, two nuns and six lay people “achieved significant exploits or actions”, declared Fides, but they testified to their faith “in impoverished and degraded social contexts, where violence is the rule of life. , the authority of the State was lacking or was weakened by corruption and compromises and in the total lack of respect for life and all human rights.

“From Africa to America, from Asia to Europe, they shared the daily life of their brothers and sisters, with its risks and fears, its violence and its privations, bringing the small daily gestures of testimony Christian as a seed of hope ”, declared Agenzia Fides. .

The 22 include Nigerian Father John Gbakaan Yaji of the Diocese of Minna, who was killed on January 15 by gunmen who attacked his car; his body was found near the road, tied to a tree, Fides said.

And the French father Olivier Maire, provincial superior of the Missionaries of Montfort, who was killed on August 9 in the provincial house of Saint Laurent sur Sèvre, in France, by a Rwandan migrant to whom he had offered accommodation.

The women on Fides’ list are Sisters of the Sacred Heart Mary Daniel Abud and Regina Roba, who were killed in August, along with several other people, when their chartered bus was attacked on the road between Juba and Nimule. , South Sudan.

By publishing the list, Agenzia Fides declared that it does not only look at the church workers killed in the traditional mission territories and that it does not proclaim any of them as “martyrs” in the technical sense of to have been killed out of hatred of their faith.

Although not included in the tally, Fides’ report also paid tribute to the 35 “innocent civilians, all Catholics” who died on December 24, apparently at the hands of the Burmese army in the village of Mo So in Kayah State as they fled the fighting in the area. The victims, including elderly women and children, were shot and their bodies were burned.

“The fact that the bodies of those killed, burned and mutilated were found on Christmas Day makes this appalling tragedy even more poignant and disgusting,” Cardinal Charles Maung Bo of Yangon said. “As the rest of the world celebrated the birth of Christ with joy, the people of Mo So village suffered death, shock and destruction.”


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