Manila (Agenzia Fides) - Seven years have passed since the killing of Italian missionary Fausto Tentorio of PIME, killed on the island of Mindanao on October 17, 2011. On the seventh anniversary of his death, the Church in the Philippines recalle the priest friend of the peasants and of the indigenous people of Mindanao. "We must continue to be the legacy of Father Tentorio. Following the example of Father Tentorio means following the call of Christ in going to the margins of society and sharing the Good News of Christ with the poor. Fr. Fausto will always be in our hearts", says Teresa Punzon, Catholic laywoman of Mindanao, to Agenzia Fides.
Father Tentorio helped to create more than 80 day-care centers in indigenous communities and over 2,000 young indigenous people have benefited from scholarships organized by him.
"By educating to the relationship with the Created and remaining on the side of the poor and oppressed, Fr. Tentorio experienced the preferential option of the Church for the poor", she notes. "After his death, his ministry has inspired hundreds of communities of lumads (indigenous) throughout Mindanao", says to Fides Marlon Lacal, a Catholic laywoman committed to serving the poor in Mindanao.
The defense of these populations cost him his life: at the time of his death, the missionary was facing the question of the presence of large scale mining companies and projects in the lands of the indigenous peoples, which would have caused deforestation, installation of plantations and mines, upsetting the lives of local people.
Member of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME) Father Tentorio, 59, a missionary in the Philippines since 1978, was shot dead by a killer inside the parish complex of the Mother of Perpetual Help in Arakan, in province of North Cotabato in 2011. He was the third priest of PIME murdered in the Philippines, after Fr. Tullio Favali and Salvatore Salzedda, also killed in Mindanao.
Fr. Tentorio was born on 7 January 1952 in Santa Maria di Rovagnate and grew up in Lecco, Italy. He was ordained a priest in 1977 and left for the Philippines the following year, working at a pastoral and social level alongside Christian, Muslim and indigenous communities. PIME missionaries are present in 17 countries in the world, and have been in the Philippines since 1968. (SD) (Agenzia Fides, 18/10/2018)