Monday, October 17, 2011

ASIA: PHILIPPINES: MISSIONARY PRIEST MURDERED

ASIA NEWS REPORT: The missionary had returned to Italy a year and a half ago, ensuring that there were no problems in Kidapawan. The life of Father Fausto told by his nephew: poverty, friendship with tribals, efforts to stop mining companies. Tonight at 20.30 mass in Santa Maria di Rovagnate.

Rome (AsiaNews) – Shock and dismay have overtaken the family of Fr Fausto Tentorio on receiving the news of his death. The PIME missionary was killed this morning in Arakan Valley in the Diocese of Kidapawan. The family of Fr Fausto live in Santa Maria di Rovagnate, in the province of Lecco.

Felix, his brother, two years older than Fr. Fausto, told AsiaNews: "We are shocked and dismayed. The last time my brother came to Italy, a year and a half ago, he told us that the situation in Kidapawan was not tense at all, that there was nothing to fear. And now this news ... We always advised him to be cautious, be careful .... ".

Fr. Tentorium, more than 32 years on mission for PIME (Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions) in the Philippines, in 2003 had narrowly escaped being executed, on one of his visits to tribals in the Arakan Valley, Kitaotao.

Since then the situation had calmed down and there were no major signs of tension.

His nephew, Simone, 27, a bank clerk, visited his uncle in the Philippines last January. "He was very peaceful and serene, even if he was prudent. When we passed areas that he did not know, he locked the car and closed the windows. But there seemed to be no problems. I even walked to visit the place and the house where he had escaped execution in 2003. "

Simon is still impressed by the simplicity and poverty in which his uncle lived. "He was a person who wanted to live exactly like the local people and he was loved because of this".

So far there appears to be no apparent motive for the murder of the missionary. Fr. John Vettoretto, who lived with Fr Fausto, thinks that his confrere could be the victim of some revenge attack. In the Diocese of Kidapawan, Fr. Tentorio was head of the Filipino Apostolate for the tribals. It is possible that among the motives there is precisely his commitment to the defense of indigenous peoples and against the mining companies who are occupying the lands of the tribals.

The family of Fr Fausto received the news of his death directly from the Philippines. Early this morning they received the visit of the PIME superior in Milan. This evening, a memorial Mass will be held for Father Fausto Tentorio in the parish of his native town at 20.30.

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