Rome Newsroom, May 7, 2021 / 09:00 am
The sainthood cause opened this week of Fr. Rhoel Gallardo, who died on May 3, 2000, after being held for 43 days by Islamists.
The Claretian missionary was killed at the age of 34, just six years after his ordination as a priest and 11 years after making his first profession as a religious.
On March 20, 2000, Gallardo was kidnapped, together with a school administrator, five teachers, and 22 students from the Claret School of Tumahubong, a village located on the island province of Basilan, in the Philippines.
The majority of the population in Basilan is Muslim; the next largest religious group is Catholic. Gallardo, who was the school’s principal, and the teachers and students, were taken captive by the Islamic separatist group Abu Sayyaf, the East Asia branch of the Islamic State.