The Year of Faith and the martyrdom of Fr Fausto Tentorio
by Bernardo Cervellera
The death of a PIME missionary and simultaneously the announcement of the Year of Faith, invoked by Benedict XVI to rediscover the Christian faith and learn how to transmit it to the world. The life of the murdered priest is a sign of "good that makes no noise," but nourishes the fruits of faith and love. An alternative to the black bloc.
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 life.
"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 world.