Rome (Agenzia Fides) - On March 24, we celebrate the "Day of Prayer and Fasting in Memory of the Missionary Martyrs", promoted by the Youth Movement of the Pontifical Mission Societies, on the anniversary of the assassination of Mgr. Oscar Arnulfo Romero, Archbishop of San Salvador (24 March 1980), who will be beatified on 23 May. The initiative aims to remember, with prayer and fasting, all the missionaries who were killed in the world and the pastoral workers who shed their blood to bear witness to the Gospel (see Fides 21/03/2015).
According to information gathered by Agenzia Fides, during the years 1980-1989, 115 missionaries died violently. The summary of the years 1990-2000 presents a total of 604 missionaries killed. The number is significantly higher than in the previous decade mainly as a result of the genocide in Rwanda (1994), which caused at least 248 victims among church personnel.
In the years 2001-2014 the total number of pastoral workers killed was 343 people. In the year 2014, 26 pastoral workers were killed: 17 priests, 1 religious, 6 religious women, one seminarian, one layman. These figures are still to be considered in default as they relate only to confirmed cases and of which news was received. (S.L.) (Agenzia Fides 23/03/2015)