Twenty-nine missionaries around the world were killed in 2019

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31/12/2019
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This is yet another year to mourn the death of those who gave their lives to make the lives of others more dignified.

Twenty-nine missionaries were killed in the year 2019. They include 18 priests, a permanent deacon, two non-priest religious men, two religious sisters and six laypeople.

Africa is the most dangerous continent for missionaries. In 2019, a total of 15 were murdered there. Among them was Spanish Salesian Antonio César Fernández, shot to death on Feb. 15 in Burkina Faso.

The Sahel is turning into lawless territory. Another missionary victim of this violence is Fr. Pierluigi Maccalli of the Society of African Missions. He was kidnapped in Niger in September, 2018. He is thought to be somewhere in Niger, Burkina Faso or Mali, but his exact whereabouts are unknown

Pope Francis remembered him during his meeting with the Society of African Missions.

POPE FRANCIS
“Thank you for your missionary zeal, imbued with courage. It leads you to go out and offer to all, the life of Jesus Christ, sometimes putting your own life in danger.” “In this sense, I would like to join you in prayer for your brother Pierluigi Maccalli, who has been kidnapped for several months now in Niger.”

In Mali, Colombian missionary Gloria Cecilia Narváez is still missing. She was kidnapped in 2017 by a branch of Al-Qaeda in the Sahel.

There are no additional news regarding the fate of Fr. Paolo Dall'Oglio, kidnapped in Syria in 2013.

The year 2019 has seen the “globalization of violence.” In the past, violence was confined to a specific country or geographic area. In 2019, the phenomenon has blown up and spread globally. Some of these murders, attributed to Jihadist groups, are allegedly committed for religious motives. In other cases, the objectives are very different. For example, missionaries are sometimes targeted to destabilize entire communities.

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