Publishing house Editrice Missionaria Italiana has just released a book by Gerolamo Fazzini on 50 years of PIME history in the Philippines with stories and testimonies of the Institute’s service to the local Church, including the three priests who gave their lives as martyrs: Tullio Favali (1985), Salvatore Carzedda (1992) and Fausto Tentorio (2011).
Verona (AsiaNews) – In the Philippines, PIME Fathers are "famous for their missionary zeal, but even more for their martyrs,” says Luis Antonio G. Tagle, archbishop of Manila, cited in a new book that traces the 50-year presence of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions in Asia’s most populous Catholic nation.
Titled Una fedeltà a caro prezzo I primi 50 anni del Pime nelle Filippine: una storia di missione e martirio (Loyalty at a high price PIME’S first 50 years in the Philippines: A story of mission and martyrdom), the tome (picture 2) presents stories and testimonies of PIME’s service to the local Church.
The author, journalist and essayist Gerolamo Fazzini, takes a close look at the paths followed by the missionaries as they stood alongside the people of the Philippines and the country’s Catholic community.
It all began on 8 December 1968 with the arrival of the first priests. Four years later, President Ferdinand Marcos imposed martial law and his dictatorial rule on the country.
The mission brought PIME Fathers to the poor residents of Tondo, one of Manila’s underprivileged neighbourhoods, but also to the southern island of Mindanao, where the Institute built up an enduring closeness with the local population.
Here, after decades of fighting and uprisings, PIME set up parishes taking care of poor and marginalised residents. Despite dangers, the missionaries also defended tribal rights, upheld the dignity of migrant workers and engaged in dialogue with the Muslims.
In half a century, PIME clergymen paid a hefty price to bear witness to the mission. Three of them died a martyr’s death: Tullio Favali (1985), Salvatore Carzedda (1992) and Fausto Tentorio (2011). Two other missionaries, Fathers Peter Geremia and Luciano Ghezzi, ended up in jail and several confreres have had to endure threats.
Three priests – Fathers Francesco Alessi, Gigi Cocquio and Albert Booms – were expelled from the country as ‘persona non grata’, whilst two more were abducted and eventually released: Fr Luciano Benedetti, in 1998, and Fr Giancarlo Bossi, in 2007.