STATEMENT OF THE PIME GENERAL DIRECTORATE IN ROME ON THE KILLING OF FATHER FAUSTO TENTORIO IN THE PHILIPPINES.

 

Mass media in Italy, in the Philippines, and in the world have already reported the killing of our confrere Fr. Fausto Tentorio in Arakan, on the Filipino island of Mindanao. We onfirm the principal facts of the case, that is, that an unknown gunman fired several times at Fr. Tentorio as he was about to get into his car in front of the parish church. The killer fled on a motorcycle driven by an accomplice. So far we know neither the identity of the killer nor the precise reason for this crime.

None of our confreres has the intention of being a hero, but simply of being faithful to his missionary vocation. Some time ago Fr. Fausto Tentorio signed a declaration in which he stated: “Thankful to God for the great gift of a missionary vocation, I am aware that it involves the possibility of finding myself in situations of serious risk for my health and personal safety on account of epidemics, abductions, assaults and wars, up to the eventuality of a violent death.  With trust in God I accept everything as coming from His hands, and I offer my life for Christ and for the spread of His Kingdom.” That is what he declared and that is what he lived. His sacrifice took place only a few days before World Mission Sunday and  coincided with the call of Pope Benedict XVI to give a new impetus to the new evangelization and to the mission ad gentes.

We are grateful to all those who have expressed their closeness to us in this moment of sorrow, whether directly to the PIME community in the Philippines or to the entire Institute through our Superior General. For our part we pray, and ask everyone to pray, for the repose of the soul of Fr. Tentorio and for those suffering the most from this sad event: his family members, among his faith and love were nurtured; the Church and the people of Mindanao, whom Fr. Tentorio served and whom he loved so much; the PIME community in the Philippines, suffering once again because of the violent death of a confrere.   Finally, we pray for the conversion of the killer and those who commissioned him, so that they may open their hearts to the Lord, who desires not the damnation of the sinner, but that he repent and have eternal life.

Father Gian Battista Zanchi, PIME

Superior General

Rome, October 18, 2011

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STATEMENT OF THE PIME COMMUNITY IN THE PHILIPPINES ON THE KILLING OF THEIR CONFRERE

“You have been told, O mortal, what is good, and what the LORD requires of you: Only to do justice and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6: 8 )

This is the Biblical passage we read in the Last Will and Testament of Father Fausto Tentorio, our Confrere in PIME and mission. These words in a nutshell contain all the life and mission of our brother priest. In truth, he walked humbly with his God, doing justice and loving goodness on behalf of the poorest among the poor and marginalized as Filipino Indigenous People and farmers have been and still are in Arakan Valley, North Cotabato.

For over thirty years Father Fausto was a father to them (they affectionately called him Tatay Pops!), a brother, a mentor and a friend, selflessly identifying himself with them in their life and culture.  He was truly one of and with them!

The PIME community in the Philippines praises and thanks God for His gift of martyrdom. God has called him to make the ultimate sacrifice in God’s service and in the service of God’s people.

We know that Father Tentorio was a gentle man, evangelically simple and prudent, but fiercely courageous and consistent in his apostolate and in his advocacy for the marginalized people, especially the Indigenous People, and for the integrity of creation.

We, the PIME Missionaries in the Philippines, with hearts heavy with sadness and pain, condemn in the strongest way possible the killing of Father Fausto and cry out for justice for him.

Father Fausto’s merciless murder has renewed in all of us the pain and the loss of our two brother martyrs: Father Tullio Favali, killed in Tulunan in April 1985, and Father Salvatore Carzedda, killed in Zamboanga City in May 1992.

At this point in history, we, the PIME community in the Philippines, renew our commitment to witness the Gospel in spite of risks of all kinds. We have made a promise to serve the Church and the people in the Philippines as we have done since 1968, counting on the presence of the Lord Jesus: “Behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age” (Mt 28: 20), and so we will not leave at this moment, but remain and continue to serve. Evil will not triumph with the death of Father Fausto!

Lastly, we make our own the words of Archbishop Orlando Quevedo, former Bishop of Kidapawan.

“Father Fausto’s death is pure murder. I totally condemn it as a crime that cries out to heaven. If the perpetrators think that his murder would silence priests, religious sisters and brothers, and bishops from proclaiming the justice of God’s kingdom, they are wrong. The blood of martyrs like Fr. Fausto fans the daring and courage of those who care about peace and justice enough to sacrifice themselves while travelling the road of active non-violence. I strongly appeal to the authorities to search for the perpetrators and bring to justice”. (Excerpts from Martyr for Justice and Peace by Archbishop Orlando B. Quevedo, OMI).

We take this opportunity to express our heartfelt thanks to all the people of good will who condoled with us and sustained us with their solidarity. Your prayers and your being one with us in seeking justice for our murdered confrere is of great comfort and source for renewed commitment.

May the God of peace and love bring lasting peace and justice in Mindanao!

PIME Regional House

Suterville, Zamboanga City

October 19, 2011

Fr. Fausto Tentorio, PIME