We can only recall how Father Andrea Santoro suffered martyrdom (in its truest sense) when he was shot from behind by a Muslim youth in modern day Turkey in February 5, 2006 while he’s kneeling in prayer. He was murdered inside Santa Maria Church in Trabzon, Turkey as a Catholic missionary priest of Fidei Donum. According to AsiaNews, the 15 years old young man who was convicted later shouted “Allahu Akhbar" (God is Great)before he shoots Father Andrea. As the issue spilled over to Europe and the world, his hearing was widely covered by local newspapers and some international media. According to Wikipedia, “neither the killer nor his mother showed any remorse during the trial.”
Today, we ask the Lord to look upon his servant Father Andrea Santoro for all Catholics and Christians who are facing persecution at the hands of “unbelievers” and fanatics. We pray to his intersession that through his prayers and the prayers of all the saints and angels, his blood would be the seed of evangelization in Turkey which was once a Christian country before it was conquered. Pope Benedict XVI during his address to Turkey’s Bishop, he specifically asked the Bishop to uphold Religious Freedom in Turkey, remembering Father Santoro’s brutal murder.
“[F]rom Saint John to Saint Ignatius of Loyola, from Saint Polycarp of Smyrna to “the many eminent Fathers of the Church, not to mention [the participants in] the Council of Ephesus which proclaimed the Virgin Mary to be Théotokos. More recently Benedict XV and the Blessed John XXIII marked the life of the nation and the Church in Turkey.”“I also want to mention that every Christian, priests and laity, who bore witness to the charity of Christ, have sometimes made the ultimate sacrifice of their life, like Fr Andrea Santoro. May this impressive history be for your communities—the vigour of whose faith and abnegation under trial I am well aware—not only be a reminder of a glorious past, but also an incentive to continue with generosity along the journey you have begun, bearing witness among your brothers and sisters to God's love for all human beings.” [Read more…]
I ask all Catholics and our separated brethren to remember all those who suffered persecution just because they’re Christians. If our enemies’ weapon is bullet, let’s armor ourselves with love and respect. As the Lord said, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do."[Luke 23:34].
As a consolation, let’s listen to Christ when he said, “And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna.” [Matthew 10:28]
To Jesus Christ be praised!