February 5 marks the second anniversary of the killing of Father Andrea Santoro in Turkey. Bishop Vincenzo Paglia, the president of the Committee for Inter-Religious Dialogue of the Italian Bishops’ Conference, will commemorate Fr. Andrea’s witness of love by celebrating a Mass in the Church of Santa Maria di Trebisonda, together with Bishop Luigi Padovese, Apostolic Vicar of Anatolia and president of the Bishops’ Conference of Turkey.
According to the SIR news agency, Bishop Paglia said, “At the beginning of the millennium, Father Andrea offers a unique testimony. To go to Trebisonda (the city where Fr. Andrea founded a center for dialogue) means to be inspired by dialogue with the force of a place that speaks: a land bathed in love to the point of the shedding of blood. These places are particularly significant and bear witness to the holiness of love and respect in a society that is used to consuming and destroying everything and producing only for profit. The freely-given love of Father Andrea is different,” the bishop said.
“During this year pilgrimages have a significant value, because they bring to mind the witness of the Apostle Paul who learned there to love the Gospel, to the point of suffering martyrdom in Rome. Father Andrea died in this land (Turkey) of apostolic memory and testimony. We are indebted to the community present in Turkey and the Middle East,” the bishop said.
On the other hand, historian and university professor Augusto D’Angelo explained that Father Andrea, “in his desire to be radical in his vocation, considered martyrdom to be part of the vocation he was called to, to be the inheritance of the Church.”