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Pope recalls ‘persecution’ of missionaries


Vatican City : Pope Benedict XVI recalled Sunday the dangers faced by Catholic missionaries around the world, citing the recent murder of an Italian priest in Brazil and the abduction of an Irish priest in the Philippines.

Benedict spoke before delivering the Angelus blessing to thousands of faithful gathered in St Peter’s Square as the Catholic Church was marking World Mission Day.

It was a day “which represents for every church community and for each Christian, a strong call to strive to bring the testimony of the Gospel to all, in particular to those who are not yet acquainted with it,” Benedict said.

“I wish to remember the missionaries – priests, religious men and women, and lay volunteers – who have consecrated their existence to bring the Gospel to the world and in so doing face hardships and difficulties, and even persecution,” he added.

“I think of, among others, Father Ruggero Ruvoletto… recently killed in Brazil and Father Michael Sinnott, kidnapped a few days ago in the Philippines,” Benedict said.

The 52-year-old Ruvoletto was shot dead Sep 20 in Manaus, capital of Brazil’s Amazonas State, in an apparent robbery at a parish residence.

The 79-year-old Sinnott was abducted Oct 11 by six gunmen in Pagadian City, 890 km south of Manila. Philippine authorities said the gunmen have since turned over Sinnott to Muslim separatist MILF fighters.