22 Pastoral Workers Killed in 2013

A Free Syrian Army fighter walks inside a church in Aleppo, Syria, Nov. 4. (CNS photo/Molhem Barakat, Reuters)

Fides, the Information service of the Pontifical Mission Societies, reports that 22 pastoral care workers were killed worldwide in 2013, almost double the number who were killed the year before. For the fifth consecutive year, Latin America had the highest number of such deaths. In 2013, 19 priests, one religious sister and two lay persons were killed. Of these, in the Americas 15 priests were killed (seven in Colombia; four in Mexico; one each in Brazil, Venezuela, Panama and Haiti). In Africa one priest was killed in Tanzania, and one religious sister and one lay pastoral care worker were killed in Madagascar and Nigeria respectively. In Asia one priest in India and one in Syria were killed, and in the Philippines one lay pastoral worker was killed. In Europe a priest was killed in Italy. Most of the pastoral care workers in 2013 were killed during robbery attempts. The status of a number of others is still undetermined. In Syria, the fates of Orthodox nuns abducted from the monastery of Santa Tecla, the Italian Jesuit Paul Dall’Oglio and the two metropolitan Bishops of Aleppo—the Greek Orthodox Boulos al-Yazigi and the Syrian Orthodox Mar Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim—remain unknown.

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Bruce Snowden
5 years ago
I don't know if the following applies to the 22 Pastoral Workers killed in 2013 but it is interesting to note that in "Tertio Millennio Adveniente" Blessed JP II said, "At the end of the second millennium the Church has once again become a Church of martyrs. The persecutions of believers-priests, religious, and laity - has caused a great sowing of martyrdom in different parts of the world. The witness to Christ borne even to the shedding of blood has become a common inheritance of Catholics, Orthodox, Anglicans and Protestants ...". Just wondering if our Church may someday canonize as martyrs non-catholics, along with catholics? In the book, "Testimony Of Hope" by Cardinal Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan" from where the above was taken adds the following - "Many testimonies about them have not reached us. Others have been jealously guarded in the records of executioners. The names of others have been tarnished, adding disgrace to martyrdom. They are 'an immense multitude that no one can count.'" Just a little addition telling of the inspirational way in which Cardinal Thuan celebrated Mass as a prisoner of the Communists - "three drops of wine, a drop of water in the palm of his hand and a sliver of bread." All holy women and men of God pray for us!


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