Manobo indigenous prepare for Easter remembering the sacrifice of Fr. Tentorio
Kidapawan (AsiaNews) - "The witness
and martyrdom of Fr. Fausto Tentorio help us to live this Easter aware of the
sacrifice of Jesus who died and rose again for our salvation" says Fr. John
Vettoretto missionary with the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions in Arakan
Valley (North Cotabato, Mindanao) and confrere of Fr. Tentorio,
the priest shot to death Oct. 17, 2011.
"The entire population of Arakan has already lived its Holy Week in October," Fr. Vettoretto tells AsiaNews, emphasizing that grief over the death of Fr. Fausto and the fruits of his mission are a tangible sign of the presence of Christ among these people. The priest says that the celebration of Easter will be very simple. Young people are preparing the traditional songs in Manobo. They will be performed during the Stations of the Cross and Mass of Easter, which is traditionally celebrated at 4 am. During the Mass a young tribal woman will be baptized.
According to the priest, Fr. Fausto's death has deeply marked the tribal faithful in Arakan Valley. "Every month the population participates with devotion in the memorial Mass for the missionary. The faithful, some coming from far away, pray for their families, missionaries and for the Church."
Fr. Vettoretto adds that "the message conveyed by the martyred priest in his 30 years of apostolate has instilled in their hearts a seed of hope that helps them to face the economic difficulties and not succumb to the cases of violence and abuse which are commonplace in these regions battered by war against the Maoists, Islamic extremists and drug traffickers. "
AsiaNews sources point out that after the arrest of Jimmy Ato, alleged murderer of the missionary, the investigations are at a standstill. To date, the man has pleaded not guilty, noting that he only had a marginal role in the death of the missionary. The other four people involved in the killing are still at large.
Fr. Fausto Tentorio is the PIME third missionary to be killed in the Philippines and the island of Mindanao. In 1985, Fr. Tullio Favali was killed in Tulunan, in the Diocese of Kidapawan, by a group of private armed guards, in 1992, Fr. Salvatore Carzedda, engaged in dialogue with Muslims, was killed in Zamboanga. In 2007, Fr. Giancarlo Bossi was kidnapped by a splinter group of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, but was released after two months of captivity. In 1998 Fr. Luciano Benedetti was also kidnapped. His abductors, a Muslim group, released him after about 2 months. (SC)