Home News Four Asians among missionaries ‘murdered’ in 2023

Four Asians among missionaries ‘murdered’ in 2023

The Vatican’s Fides News Agency revealed the names of four Asian laypeople who were among the 20 Catholic missionaries who died violently in 2023. 

According to the agency’s report on Dec. 30, “normal life” is the distinctive trait the slain pastoral workers in 2023 have in common.

“They did not carry out any sensational actions or out-of-the-ordinary deeds that could have attracted attention and put them in someone’s crosshairs,” the reports read.

“They found themselves, through no fault of their own, victims of kidnappings, acts of terrorism, involved in shootings or violence of various kinds,” it added. 

In the Philippines, college students Junrey Barbante and Janine Arenas were killed on Dec. 30 when a bomb went off during a celebration of the Holy Mass at the Mindanao State University in Marawi City. 

The two students were involved in the liturgical animation of the Prelature of Marawi. 

In Gaza, Samar Kamal Anton and her mother, Nahida Khalil Anton, were killed by an Israeli sniper while on their way to the convent of the Sisters of Mother Teresa on Dec. 18. 

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Fides uses the term “missionary” for all the baptized persons, echoing Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium that “in virtue of their Baptism, all the members of the People of God have become missionary disciples.” 

“All the baptized, whatever their position in the Church or their level of instruction in the faith, are agents of evangelization,” the pontiff said. 

Globally, one bishop, two non-religious men, one seminarian, one novice, and seven laypersons were violently killed last year, according to Fides. 

Africa was named for the highest number of missionaries killed this year where  9 missionaries were killed: 5 priests, 2 religious men, 1 seminarian, 1 novice. In America, 6 missionaries were murdered: 1 Bishop, 3 priests, 2 lay women. 

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