Priests murdered in Colombia buried amid community protests

By October 3, 2013

Colombia (ODM) — Father Bernardo Echeverry, 62, and Father
Hector Fabio Cabrera, 35, who ministered at San Sebastian Roman Catholic
parish, Roldanillo village, Valle department, were found murdered late Sept.

Neighbours reported to police having seen two men running from the parish.
Investigating officers found the priests' bodies in the residence they shared
near the church.

Open Doors Colombia notes that in the last year alone, eight
priests have been killed.

According to police and media reports, two men broke into
the residence while the priests were celebrating 8 p.m. Mass and awaited the
priests with knives. The murderers fled with offerings, a computer, and an iPad.

Local authorities convened a security council meeting where
Ubeimar Delgado, governor of Valle, linked the double murder to organized
crime. General Rodolfo Palomino, national police director, promised that his
organization would not allow the snatching of this community's most sacred
members: its spiritual leaders.

After the priests' Sept. 30 funeral, Roldanillo residents
peacefully marched to demand justice for the murders.

In Medellín early Sept. 28, disabled priest Luis Javier
Sarrázola Úsuga was found stabbed to death in his residence in Manrique
neighborhood. According to media reports, a woman bringing a meal to Sarrázola
Úsuga entered his home as an unidentified young man fled with a suitcase. The
woman and neighbors found his body, which had been stabbed in the chest more
than 30 times.

Sarrázola Úsuga, 48, operated a charity called by its acronym
FUNEPALIS, or Educational Foundation for Peace and Social Freedom, which served
the poor in Medellín's Carambolas neighborhood. Some media reports state that
Sarrázola Úsuga was affiliated with the Anglican church.

According to the Episcopal Conference, in the last 29 years
in Colombia 84 Roman Catholic priests and two bishops have been murdered.

Pray that the Lord would strengthen and sustain the families of these priests. Pray for the village of Roldanillo and Medellín's Carambolas neighborhood. Pray for the Lord's guidance for the new spiritual leaders appointed.


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