.- Father Fransiskus Madhu, a missionary of the Society of the Divine Word who was killed in April 1st in the Philippines and who was one of the youngest priests in the country, was aware of the risks of his missionary work and was willing to give his life for the Gospel, according to statements to reporters by his closest friends.
In statements to the Philippine Inquirer, Father Patrick Guru described the slain priest as an energetic man who came from Indonesia two years ago “to serve and to bring peace,” and he ended up becoming a victim of the violence that has shaken the country.
Father Guru, who is also Indonesian, said, “We should condemn this killing, and all killings. It is very easy to kill and therefore we should create a peaceful atmosphere, beginning with ourselves.” Father Guru said he did not know the motive behind the killing but that he was confident authorities would find those responsible.
He also said that when Father Fransiskus came to the Philippines he was very happy. “He had wanted to be a missionary and spread the Word,” Father Guru recalled, noting he had learned the local dialect in less than two years and that he almost never traveled to Manila because he worked in Kalinga, where he died.
“He liked to work in that remote area,” Father Guru said.
Both priests are from the Indonesian island of Flores, where the population is mostly Catholic, and for families it is a great joy that a child becomes a priest or religious.
Father Guru said that for priests born in a predominantly Muslim country like Indonesia, working in a country as Catholic as the Philippines is cause for joy.
For the Society of the Divine Word, to which both priests belong, it has been very difficult to face the death of Father Fransiskus, one of the youngest priests. “But we must accept it. We don’t know when God will call us. He is the one who gave us life and the only one that can take it,” Father Guru added.
“As missionaries, we are prepared to go to any place where we are sent. We are prepared not only to spread the Word of God, but also to die in a country that is not our own,” he said.