EUROPE/ITALY - Father Lazzaro, "discreet martyr of charity"

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Rome (Agenzia Fides) - "Discreet martyr of charity": this is how His Exc. Mgr. Nuncio Galantino, Bishop of the Diocese of Cassano all'Jonio and ad Interim Secretary General of the Italian Bishops Conference, described Father Lazzaro Longobardi, pastor of the St. Raphael the Archangel parish in Sibari, found dead on the morning of March 3, near the parsonage next to St. Joseph church, where he lived. An iron bar was found under his body with which he was killed, most likely on Sunday evening, March 2nd.
The priest, born in 1945, was ordained a priest in 1971. Since 1987 he was pastor in Sibari, loved by the entire parish community for his commitment in favor of the marginalized, especially for the thousands of immigrants who flocked to those areas in search of work. According to authorities, one of them, who was stopped, tried to extort money from the priest.
"From investigations the sad truth comes to surface of a death due to the infinite goodness and trust in others - said Mgr. Galantino – Fr. Lazzaro was a priest who had dedicated himself entirely to Christ, to the weakest and most defenseless". (SL) (Agenzia Fides 05/03/2014)