“According to the information we have,” the document indicates, “this year 24 persons were killed, one less than in 2005, they were priests, religious and lay pastoral workers.”
The Fides list includes not only missionaries in a strict sense, but “also local church personnel who died a violent death, preferring to offer their lives rather than give up their witness and apostolate.”
The report explains that the word “martyrs” is intentionally not used in order to steer clear of the assessment that the Church will eventually provide and also because of the lack of information in most cases about the lives of each individual and even the circumstances surrounding their deaths.
Despite this, the news agency said it asks the Church, “to pray for them and to remember their sacrifice, known to God, for all they did to foster the growth of the Church all over the world at the service of human promotion and evangelisation.”
The highest number of deaths occurred in Africa, where nine priests, one religious and one lay Catholic were killed in 2006. The country where most priests were killed was Kenya, with three deaths, followed by Nigeria with two. The only religious to be killed in Africa was Sister Leonella Sgorbati of Missionaries of the Consolata, who died in Mogadishu (Somalia). One lay Catholic who was killed in Mozambique was of Portuguese origin.
Six priests, one religious and one layperson were killed in the Americas in 2006.
In Asia two priests, one religious and one layperson lost their lives last year, and in Oceania one member of the Brothers of St. John of God was killed in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.
The Fides report also noted that the long list of unnamed witnesses to the faith that were killed in 2006 should also be remembered.
The entire report can be found at:
.- The official news agency of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples issued its annual report on December 30 listing the names of missionaries who were killed while carrying out their work during 2006.