Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Remembering a Missionary Killed in Turkey

It is our hope that things like this will only help to turn the hearts and minds of the people toward Jesus.

"Unless the grain of wheat which falls to the ground dies, it remains alone; if it dies, it produces much fruit" (John 12:24). This Gospel verse, we learn from those around him, was often on the lips of Father Andrea Santoro. Almost like a program for life, to be kept continually in mind, or, considering his death, a forewarning, an announcement that his life offered for the cause of the Gospel would not be fruitless.

Father Andrea was neither unprepared nor imprudent: He had studied and had become very familiar with the culture and environment in which he chose to live, he was aware that an extreme act such as the one which killed him was not to be excluded."

"All missionaries know they may be called to sacrifice their life for the cause of the Gospel. However, a violent death is not something accidental which must be simply taken into account, it is the supreme offering of self.

Missionaries put their lives in the hands of the Lord with full awareness and with love, knowing that should their blood be shed it will not be in vain, it will be nourishment and source of life for the local community and indeed for the whole Church."

"As a Christian who received the faith from that part of the world, he wanted to return there to give the faith in his turn. Reverend Andrea went to Turkey not to proselytize or to try to impose a change on the situation and society: His mission was one of presence, a presence of prayer and of concern for the material and spiritual poverty around him; he was absorbed in love for God and for every brother and sister with whom he came into contact."
Zenit News Agency - The World Seen From Rome

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