“They were born in the same land where they died”: 22 missionaries were killed in 2021


Seven of the twenty-two missionaries killed in the world in 2021 were in the American continent, specifically in Mexico, Venezuela, Peru and Haiti, according to data published today by the Vatican’s missionary information agency, Fides, which reveals executions in thirteen countries.

In the year that ends, thirteen priests, two religious, one religious and six lay people who carried out their work in Africa (11), America (7), Asia (3) and Europe (1) were assassinated, while the figure rises to 536 in the case of missionaries executed in the last decade (2000-2020).

Africa and America have alternated for years in the first place of this “Tragic classification”, explains Fides in an extensive report in which he emphasizes that those assassinated “’simply’ gave testimony of their faith in contexts of violence, social inequality, exploitation and moral and environmental degradation, where the oppression of the strongest is the rule of conduct, without any respect for human life, right and authority ”.

All of them “were aware of all this, often they were born in the same land where they died “, but “they could not stop testifying,” including “many lay people, whose number is growing,” adds the agency, citing as an example the Italian Nadia de Munari, “brutally murdered to steal a cell phone in Peru” or the indigenous catechist tzozil and human rights activist Pedro Pérez López, executed from a motorcycle in San Cristóbal de Las Casas (Mexico).

An Alcoyan missionary in Mozambique seeks help to equip a hospital against the covid from which they treat 9,000 AIDS patients (Photo: EP)
An Alcoyan missionary in Mozambique seeks help to equip a hospital against the covid from which they treat 9,000 AIDS patients (Photo: EP)

Also “parish priests murdered in their communities, tortured, kidnapped by criminals in search of nonexistent treasures or lured by the mirage of easy rescues or to silence uncomfortable rumors (…) or even murdered by those they were helping, as in France or Venezuela, where a religious was killed by thieves in the school where he taught young people to build a future ”.

Fides emphasizes that the missionaries on the list are only “the tip of the iceberg”, since “it is limited to the names of people for whom certain information, although scarce, is available” and to them “we must add the long list of many, who may never be known, or whose name is not even known , that in all corners of the planet world suffer and pay their faith in Jesus Christ with their lives ”.

And among the examples he mentions Michele Colosio, 42, originally from Borgosatollo (Italy), who died on July 11, 2021 in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, shot from a motorcycle and living in Mexico “Committed to cooperation, particularly for the promotion of the right to health.”

The other missionaries assassinated in America were the religious Luigi Manganello, assassinated in Venezuela by thieves in his school in Barquisimeto; the parish priests Gumesindo Cortés and José Guadalupe Popoca – whose corpses showed signs of violence – and Brother Juan Antonio Orozco – who died in a gang setting – in Mexico and Don André Sylvestre, murdered when leaving the bank in Haiti.

The rest of the murdered they carried out their work in Angola, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Uganda, the Philippines, Myanmar and France.



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