37 killed for being Christian

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cross detail3.jpgLiving and dying in Christ in 2009 was way too common. Especially the dying part.  Pope Benedict's Christmas homily notes that "The Church everywhere proclaims the Gospel of Christ, despite persecutions, discriminations, attacks and at times hostile indifference. These, in fact, enable her to share the lot of her Master and Lord." Many of the 37 people killed this past year met hostility for their acceptance of Christ as Savior, others were easy targets because they were priests or nuns or in some way connected with the Church. Being killed for being Christian is not the same as saying the 37 were martyrs for the faith. Some may be legitimate martyrs, but not all.

Those who died:

Fr Joseph Bertaina, of the Consolata Missionaries, killed January 16, 2009, Langata, Kenya

Fr Eduardo de la Fuente Serrano, 61, killed February 14, 2009, Havana, Cuba

Fr Juan Gonzalo Aristizabal Isaza, 62, killed February 22, 2009, Medellin, Colombia

Fr Daniel Matsela Mahula, 34, killed February 27, 2009, Jouberton, South Africa

Fr Lionel Sham, 66, killed March 7, 2009, Mohlakeng, South Africa

Fr Révocat Gahimbare, killed March 8, 2009, Karuzi, Burundi

Fr Gabriel Fernando Montoya Tamayo, 40 & Fr Jesús Ariel Jiménez, 45, Redemptorists, killed March 16, 2009, La Primavera, Colombia

Fr Ramiro Luden, 64, killed March 20, 2009, Recife, Brazil

Fr Lorenzo Rosebaugh, 74, Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, killed May 18, 2009, lta Verapaz, Guatemala

Fr Ernst Plöchl, 78, Congregation of the Missionaries of Mariannhill, killed May 31, 2009 Cape Province, South Africa

Mr Jorge Humberto Echeverri Garro, 40, killed June 11, 2009, Colonos, Panama Arauca, Colombia

Fr Habacuc Benítez Hernández, 39, and Seminarians Oregon Eduardo Benitez, 19, and Silvestre Gonzalez Cambron, 21, killed June 13, 2009, Tierra Caliente, Guerrero, Mexico

Fr Gisley Azevedo Gomes, 31, Congregation of the Sacred Stigmata of Our Lord Jesus Christ, killed June 15, 2009, Brazlandia, Brasilia

Fr Mariano Arroyo Merino, 74, killed July 13, 2009, Shrine of Our Lady of the Rule, Cuba

Mr Ricky Sukaka Agus, 27, Caritas worker, killed July 15, 2009, Musezero, North Kivu, DR of Congo

Fr Mukalel James, 39, killed July 30, 2009, Mangalore, Karnataka, India

Fr Leopoldo Cruz, Redemptorist, killed August 24, 2009, El Salvador

Fr Cecilio Lucero, Filipino, 48, killed September 6, 2009, Northern Samar province, Philippines

Fr Roger Ruvoletto, 52, Fidei Donum missionary, killed September 19, 2009, Manaus, Brazil

Fr Evaldo Martiol, 33, killed September 26, 2009, Santa Caterina, Brazil

Fr Danilo Oscar Cardozo 57, killed September 27, 2009, Villavicencio, Colombia

Mr William Quijano, 21, Community of St. Egidio in El Salvador, September 28, 2009, Apopa, San Salvador

Fr Edward Hinds, 61, killed October 24, 2009, Chatham, New Jersey

Fr Louis Jousseaume, 70, killed October 26, 2009, Tulle, France

Sr Marguerite Bartz, 64, Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, killed October 31/November 1, 2009, Navajo, New Mexico

Fr Hidalberto Henrique Guimaraes, 48, killed November 7, 2009, Maceió, Brazil

Fr Miguel Angel Hernandez, 45, Capuchin Franciscan, killed November 8, 2009, Ocotepeque Honduras, and found dead in a province of eastern Guatemala

Fr Jean Gaston Buli, killed on November9/10 2009, Bunia, DR of Congo

Fr Daniel Cizimya Nakamaga, 51, killed December 6, 2009, Kabare, DR of Congo

Fr Louis Blondel, 70, Missionaries of Africa, killed December 6 /7, 2009, Pretoria, South Africa

Sr Denise Kahambu Muhayirwa, 44, Trappistine, killed December 7, 2009, Murhesa, DR of Congo

Fr Jeremiah Roche, Society of St. Patrick for Foreign Missions, killed December 10/11, 2009, Kericho, Kenya

Fr Alvino Broering, 46, killed December 14, 2009, Santa Catarina, Brazil

Fr Emiro Jaramillo Cardenas, 73, killed on December 20, 2009, Santa Rosa de Osos, Columbia

We are never very far from offering our lives for Christ. The day after Christmas we observe the feast of the first martyr, Saint Stephen, a deacon and one of the seven chosen to serve the Church. In his Angelus address Pope Benedict recalled for us that

Stephen's witness, like that of the Christian martyrs, shows our fellow men and women, so often distracted and disoriented, in whom they must place their trust in order to give meaning to life. The martyr is, in fact, the person who dies in the certainty of being loved by God and, placing nothing before love for Christ, knows he has chosen the better part. Fully identifying himself with the death of Christ, he realizes that he is a life-giving seed that opens the way for peace and hope in the world. Today, presenting us St. Stephen the Deacon as a model, the Church is also showing us that acceptance and love for the poor is one of the privileged ways to live the Gospel and to bear credible witness before the world of the Kingdom of God that is to come. (Angelus, December 26, 2009)

Rome Reports filed this story.

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Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.



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