Monday, February 18, 2013

Another Catholic Priest Killed: Persecution of Christians continues . . .


AFRICA/TANZANIA - Catholic priest killed; "this is the second of my priests to die" says Catholic Bishop of Zanzibar

Zanzibar (Agenzia Fides)- "We have no idea why Fr. Evarist was killed, we are waiting to hear the results of the police enquiry", Fides learned from Bishop Augustine Shao, Catholic Bishop of Zanzibar, where, yesterday Sunday 17 February, 55 year old Catholic priest Fr. Evarist Mushi, was murdered.
"Fr. Evarist was killed at 7am yesterday morning. He had just arrived at Zanzibar's Catholic Cathedral, St Joseph's, to celebrate Sunday Mass. Before he could even alight from the car two men on a motorbike approached him and the one seated at the back opened fire shooting three times. " said Bishop Shao.
The Bishop, who is waiting for the police enquiry to find a motive, suspects that the priest's murder "may be connected with other local events. Recently explicit assassination threats against bishops and priests were seen in local newspapers. At Christmas, another local priest, Fr. Ambrose Mkenda was seriously injured in an ambush (see Fides 3/1/2013). Fr. Ambrose is still recovering from his wounds in hospital. Furthermore, last year, 2012, three Catholic churches and several churches of other Christian denominations in Zanzibar, were set on fire. 
We have no ides of the size of the group targeting the island's Christians, but it would appear to be large" the Bishop concluded.
The local police says it has arrested three persons suspected of involvement in the killing of the priest. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 18/2/2013).

ASIA/SYRIA - The Church never pays ransom, instead it offers prayers

Aleppo (Fides News Agency) - The Catholic church in Syria, its various communities and bodies, does not pay ransom for its kidnapped faithful and never will. While calling on the international community to help put an end to the inhuman practice of all hostage taking in their country, Syrian Catholics urge Christians world wide to offer prayers and spiritual sacrifices for the release of the victims. Fides Agency learned this from reliable local Catholic Church sources, which made it clear that any sort of "release campaign" for kidnapped persons (at present two priests are in the hands of kidnappers) is purely spiritual and in no way entails fund collecting. In a message to Fides Incarnate Word missionary Father Alberto Barattero, underlined that the members of his fraternity do not engage in "fundraising" for the release of hostages, but they are committed to providing assistance to all families, Christian and non Christian, suffering from hardship and homelessness because of the situation of war. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 18/2/2013)