ON this World Mission Sunday, October 23, 2011, we acknowledge our great indebtedness to all foreign missionaries. They are friends of our people. In great sacrifice they have strengthened our faith and assisted the poor and the needy. We pray for them today.
We pray for Fr. Fausto Tentorio, PIME, a missionary for more than 30 years. His brutal murder outside the parish rectory in Arakan, Diocese of Kidapawan has shocked everyone.
We condemn and denounce in the strongest possible terms the heinous and monstrous crime against the life of Fr. Fausto.
Simple and humble in life, Fr. Fausto was deeply esteemed by the indigenous peoples whose cultural and territorial rights he promoted and defended. He was deeply loved by the people whose spiritual welfare he looked after.
How long will evil men continue to plot against those who courageously protest against the sufferings of the poor and the degradation of God’s creation? How long shall they continue to snuff out the lives of those who dare to speak against injustices and imbalances in our society? How long will they continue to roam around freely without being brought to justice?
The government must act decisively and swiftly. It must investigate thoroughly every angle of the murder of Fr. Fausto. It cannot simply point at the usual scapegoats.
We express our deep sympathy with the missionary community of the PIME, to the Bishop, clergy, religious, and laity of the Diocese of Kidapawan and to Fr. Fausto’s relatives in Italy. Our grieving with them goes beyond words.
Fr. Fausto strove throughout his priestly and missionary life to walk humbly, act justly, and love the Lord and his people passionately. May Mary our Blessed Mother lead him to the fullness of life given by Jesus her Divine Son.
+NEREO P. ODCHIMAR, D.D.
Bishop of Tandag
President, Catholic Bishops’ Conference
of the Philippines
October 23, 2011