Rome (Agenzia Fides) - "A good man, a man of God who, like the Lord, spent his life “doing good”, especially among his beloved African people", this is how the Rector Major of the Salesians, Fr. Ángel Fernández Artime, describes Fr. Antonio César Fernández in a letter to all his confreres and to the Salesian Family in the world, immediately after having learned the "painful news" of his killing in Burkina Faso (see Fides, 16/2/2019).
In the letter sent to Agenzia Fides, Fr. Fernández Artime recalls that "our Salesian confrere Fr. Antonio César Fernández, was assassinated on February 15 at 15.00 hours local time, with three shots during a jihadist attack perpetrated at about 40 kilometers from the border of Burkina Faso. Fortunately, two other confreres managed to survive the attack. They were coming from Lome, after celebrating the first session of the Provincial Chapter of the AFO Province".
"Dear brethren, there are many days during the year in which I receive the news of the demise of Salesian confreres for natural causes. This is the law of life, and it will come for us as well. In such cases, however, we give thanks to the Lord for so many beautiful lives generously donated", emphasizes the Rector Major of the Salesians. "Our confrere Antonio César war deprived of his life, they killed him without any reason. He was a good man, a man of God who, like the Lord, spent his life “doing good”, especially among his beloved African people. Antonio Cesar was 72 years old, with 55 years of religious profession and 46 of priestly life. We had met a few months ago in Burkina Faso, precisely in his community of Ouagadougou, where he was Rector and Parish Priest", recalls Fr. Fernández Artime who adds: "Antonio Cesar adds to the number of many other martyrs of the Church today in the world (some of whom are Salesians and members of our Salesian Family)".
Fr. Fernández Artime concludes by inviting all "to thank the Lord for the beautiful life of our Fr. Antonio César. And also to ask God the Father to help humankind to put an end to this escalation of violence which only causes damage. May the Lord grant that César’s blood, shed in African land, be the seed of Christians, faithful followers of Jesus, and of young vocations at the service of the Kingdom.
Rest in peace, dear César".
(L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 19/2/2019)