The Year of Faith and the Martyrdom of Fr Fausto Tentorio

by Bernardo Cervellera

October 17, 2011

Rome (AsiaNews) – Father Fausto Tentorio was killed this
morning, just minutes after celebrating Mass, and before going to Kidapawan
(Mindanao, Philippines), to meet with the other priests of the diocese, at the
bishop’s house. His murderer, with the sense of security that belongs to those
who have powerful patrons, approached him and shot him twice in the head. Then
he calmly left on his motorcycle, his face covered by a helmet.

The news of the death of the PIME missionary, arrived almost simultaneously with the
publication of “Porta fidei”, the Apostolic Letter of Pope Benedict XVI for the
Proclamation of the Year of Faith. The Pope hopes this Year will lead to a
rediscovery of the faith and encourage Christians transmit it with joy and
confidence. The Year of the faith will begin on 11 October 2012, the 50th
anniversary of the Second Vatican Council, and will end on the Solemnity of Our
Lord Jesus Christ the King, November 24, 2013.

Benedict XVI wants all of us rediscover the faith according to the teachings of the Council and the
Catechism of the Catholic Church, to appreciate its truth, beauty, and nourish
our enthusiasm to transmit it to the world.

In the Letter, speaking of the “history of faith,” he writes: “By faith, the martyrs gave their lives,
bearing witness to the truth of the Gospel that had transformed them and made
them capable of attaining to the greatest gift of love: the forgiveness of their
persecutors”(No. 13).

The relevance of this message is sadly arresting,
in the light of the death of Fr Fausto, he who in 2003 had escaped death in an
ambush and who, despite this, had never asked to be transferred elsewhere to
continue his work of evangelization and development of the indigenous people of
Arakan Valley.

Just yesterday, Benedict XVI, speaking about the launch of
the Year of Faith, stressed that it must serve to help mature mission ad gentes
and new evangelization. And today, the martyrdom of Fr Tentorium, reawakens our
gratitude to Christ for the gift that this priest made by laying down his

“By faith – continues “Porta fidei”- By faith, men and women have
consecrated their lives to Christ, leaving all things behind so as to live
obedience, poverty and chastity with Gospel simplicity, concrete signs of
waiting for the Lord who comes without delay. By faith, countless Christians
have promoted action for justice so as to put into practice the word of the
Lord, who came to proclaim deliverance from oppression and a year of favour for
all (cf. Lk 4:18-19).”(n. 13 ).

The life of Fr. Fausto had the same
perfume of this total gift: long pastoral visits by motorbike, by car or on
horseback to visit the most isolated tribal groups, sleeping on a mat on the
floor, eating the poor things of the natives to build a church where being
foreign or local does not create unfair exclusion or differences; commitment to
the education of children and adults.

Two days ago, during the meeting on
the new evangelization, the Pope recalled that “in the world, even if evil makes
more noise, there continues to be good soil.” This is the good soil of the
martyrs. But the martyrdom of Fr Fausto was similar to his daily life, spent in
the Diocese of Kidapawan. And as the Pope says, the good he did made no noise:
Fr. Tentorio was a man of few words and few of his writings remain. But the love
that the natives had for him, alive and now dead, remains strong.

Days ago, 500 people, the infamous black bloc, set the city of Rome on fire with
destruction and arson. Today Rome and the world discovers that there are people
who for years have built relationships of faith and hope at the ends of the

Fr Tentorio, please pray for us during this Year of Faith!


About thereserita

Happy Catholic seeking to share that happiness with others.
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