Fortaleza (Agenzia Fides) – Another priest has been murdered in Brazil: Father Josenir Morais, age 48, pastor of the parish of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Fortaleza, State of Ceara (CE). The crime occurred on the morning of October 25, near the city of São Luís do Curu (77 km from Fortaleza), where he had attended a celebration. According to the police, the priest was hit by a single shot of gunfire while driving his car. The bullet penetrated the back reaching the heart. He then lost control of his car and crashed into a sign of the highway BR-222, veering off the road.
According to the director of Social Communications of the Archdiocese of Fortaleza, Fr. Gilson Soares, as there are no signs of a bullet on the outside of the car, it is suspected that the priest was shot while the vehicle was stopped on the road, perhaps by someone whom he had given a ride. Fr. Josenir's body, after examination by the coroner, was brought to his parish of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, where the funeral was presided by Archbishop Antonio José Aparecido Tosi Marques of Fortaleza.
Father Josenir Morais Santana was ordained a priest on July 1, 1995 and, according to the Archdiocese of Fortaleza, "was known for his simplicity, his joy that won everyone over, even those who were far away from the community. He was also known for his priestly commitment, his dynamism and creativity. He was very expressive and always encouraged the community to live the teachings of Jesus and His love for the poor." (CE) (Agenzia Fides 28/10/2010)
Fourth Brazilian priest killed in five months
Fr Hidalberto Henrique Guimaraes, 48, has become the fourth priest to be murdered in Brazil in less than five months.
He was pastor of the Church of Our Lady of Grace in the town of Murici, on the outskirts of Maceió, Fides reports. The priest’s body was found on November 7, two days after his disappearance.
He had not been seen since Thursday, the 5th, the day he had attended a meeting of the clergy. On Saturday, November 7th, he had planned to celebrate Mass in the City of Branquinho, but precisely because of his absence, a friend went to his house. When he entered, he found the bloodied body of the priest on the kitchen floor, with many cuts all over his body.
According to a statement issued by the Archdiocese of Maceió, Father Hidalberto was ordained a priest in the Church of St Joseph, in the Trapiche District, in Maceió, December 14, 1992.
“He had recently earned a degree in journalism. The priest was much loved by the parishioners, who are unable to find explanations for what happened,” the statement said.
“The Archdiocese of Maceió is united in prayer for the solution of this case, awaiting the completion of investigations.”
The Brazilian Bishops’ Conference has issued a notice of the tragic event and is updating the list of priests who have died tragically in Brazil: in fact, in this year 2009, the Catholic Church in Brazil has lost four priests, victims of murder.
The first was adviser to the Youth Section of the National Conference of Brazilian Bishops (CNBB), Father Gisley Azevedo Gomes, 31, killed by a group of young people on the night of June 15, in Brazlandia, satellite city of Brasilia. Italian Fidei Donum priest Fr. Ruvoletto Roger, 52, was killed in Manaus (AM) on Sept. 19 with a bullet to the head. On September 26, Fr. Evaldo Martiolo, 33 years, of the Diocese of Caçador (SC) was killed by a young man of 21 years and a boy of 15, during a robbery degenerated into murder.