AMERICA/CHILE - A church and a retreat house in the region of La Araucanía burned down

Wednesday, 9 March 2016 missionary institutes   violence   local churches  

Temuco (Agenzia Fides) - Yesterday March 8, masked men set fire on a shrine and a house used for holidays and spiritual retreats, on the road that links Vilcun and Cajon, in the region of La Araucania, diocese of Temuco, Chile. The criminals fired a shot in the air to warn the caretaker of the premises and after fleeing, they started the attack. Fortunately, the retreat house at the time was empty. An writing was found on the spot that recalls the Mapuche territorial claim, with the names of Mapuche leaders killed in the conflict between the Chilean state and the Mapuche people, but one cannot connect in any way these facts.
The pastor of the neighboring parish of San Sebastian, expressed his deep sorrow for what happened. "They set fire to something that is important to us, it is important to celebrate our faith, it is a shrine visited by many people", he said in the note sent to Fides. The sanctuary is entrusted to the Friars Minor Capuchin, and not to the Jesuits like some news agencies reported at first.
Police are investigating to find those responsible. In the region of La Araucania similar criminal events already occurred in the past and a house (see Fides 07/01/2013) and premises connected to the local Caritas Araucania were set on fire (see Fides 25/07/2012).
(CE) (Agenzia Fides, 09/03/2016)