Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Sadness in Anatolia

Bishop Luigi Padovese, O.F.M. Capuchin on the right

Here is what the Holy Father sent to the Church in Turkey through Cardinal Bertone, his Secretary of State, upon learning of the murder of Bishop Luigi Padovese. His Excellency was murdered on 3 June, when he was stabbed to death by his driver. Bishop Padovese was supposed to join Pope Benedict on his Apostolic Journey to Cyprus, but cancelled at the last minute because he was worried that the man who killed him would to assassinate the the Holy Father:

Bishop "Padovese's death deeply saddened us. The pope wished for me to offer his condolences politely to you and stressed that with prayers, he is close to all bishops, archbishops, fathers, priests, nuns and all Christian communities in Turkey. … The pope, who is wholeheartedly close to all people who shed tears of pain because of what happened to Luigi Padovese, bestows holy blessings on you via the Messiah Christ, our salvation and source of hope.”

It was just a few short years ago that Fr. Santoro, another Italian missionary, was murdered in Turkey. I may write more later. I am having a difficult time synthesizing all that is happening in this part of the world right now. Today was his funeral. Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord, your good and faithful servant. The Church is poorer without him.

UPDATE: Archbishbp Franceschini of Izmir (Smyrna), who was named apostolic administrator of the Apostolic Vicariate of Anatolia, Bishop Luigi's jurisdiction, said at his funeral in Iskenderun: "Do not lose heart, be happy, like the Apostles, to live in suffering and trial, without abandoning your faith, which is why we hope, it is the foundation of our joy.

"Yes, dear brothers, joy!

"And nobody will be able to extinguish this torch, because it is sustained not only by the many martyrs and saints of these lands, the Blessed Virgin patron saint of this community, but today, I am sure, one more angel is now at the throne of God: our servant, our Bishop Luigi."

As with the Little Flower, Luigi Padovese, martyr, will be of more use in heaven. This is our faith, the faith of the Church.

2 comments:

  1. The violence, in the Middle East and elsewhere, reinforces to me that the only answer lies in Jesus Christ and the Gospel

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  2. The death of this humble friar turned bishop, who loved the Turkish people so much shows that to heed to the call of Christ means being a witness, that is, a martyr.

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