Rome, Jan. 2, 2008 (CWNews.com) - In a year-end account of missionary deaths, the Fides news service has named 21 Church workers who died for the faith in 2007.
The Fides report lists the priests, religious, and seminarians who were killed during the year. The report notes that the number is slightly down from the 24 who died in 2006, and the 25 in 2005.
Because the circumstances of their deaths were different-- and in several cases unclear-- Fides does not refer to the 21 people who died as "martyrs." But the report notes that each of them "without a doubt made a radical decision: to be witnesses of God's Love often in situations of violence, degradation, material and spiritual poverty, total disrespect for the dignity and rights of the human person."
Asia saw the deaths of 8 missionaries in 2007: 4 priests, 3 deacons, and a seminarian. In Latin America there were 7 deaths: 6 priests and one religious brother. More surprisingly, 2 priests were killed in their homes in Spain.
Acknowledging that there are many others who die for the faith and remain unrecognized, Fides has asked readers to supply any information that could supplement the annual count.
The Christian missionaries who were slain in 2007 are:
- Father Mario Bianco, an Italian Consolata missionary, who died in Colombia on February 15.
- Father Martin Addai, a Ghanaian White Father, who died in Kenya on March 10.
- Father José Luis Camacho Cepeda, a Peruvian, who died in Colombia on March 11.
- Father Fransiskus Madhu, an Indonesian Divine Word missionary, who died in the Philippines on April 1.
- Sister Anne Thole, a Franciscan from Swaziland, who died in South Africa on April 1.
- Father Richard Bimeriki, a Congolese priest, who died in Rwanda on March 12.
- Father Wolfgang Hermann, a German Fidei Donum missionary, who died in Brazil on April 10.
- Father Salvador Herandez Seller, a Spanish priest, who died in Spain on April 11.
- Father Humberto Macias Rosales, a Mexican priest, who died there on May 1.
- Father Raghiid Ganni, a Chaldean Catholic priest, who died in Iraq on June 3 along with 3 deacons (below).
- Rev. Basman Yousef Daoud, a Chaldean deacon, who also died in Mosul on June 3.
- Rev. Ghasan Bidawid, a Chaldean deacon, who also died in Mosul on June 3.
- Rev. Wahid Hanna, a Chaldean deacon, who also died in Mosul on June 3.
- Justin Daniel Bataclan, a Filipino seminarian, who died on June 7 in Quezon City.
- Brother Enrique Alberto Olano Merino, a Little Brother of Mary from El Salvador, who died in Guatemala on June 9.
- Father Tomas Perez, a Spanish priest, who died in Spain on July 16.
- Father Fernando Sanchez Duran, a Mexican priest, who died there on July 22.
- Father Ricardo Junious, an American Oblate of Mary Immaculate missionary, who died in Mexico on July 29.
- Father Florante Rigonan, a Filipino priest, who died there on August 27.
- Father Nicholaspillai Packiyaranjith, a Sri Lankan priest, who died there on Septemerb 26.
- Father Allard Msheyene, a South African Oblate of Mary Immaculate missionary, who died in South Africa on October 6.
Prayer for Missionaries
O Almighty God, Lord of the harvest of souls, we ask You to guide and bless all who have gone forth to preach the gospel. Endow them with the gifts of generosity and concern. Send your Holy Spirit on them, that He may strengthen them in weakness, comfort them in trials and direct their efforts. May He open the hearts of their hearers to receive Your message. Let Your revelation enlighten all minds for the salvation of souls, and let Your love heal every heart and body for the happiness of each person. May all people consciously acknowledge You and serve You by living the teachings of Your Son. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.