Pope prays for priest murdered in the DRC
By Benedict Mayaki, SJ
Pope Francis, extending his greetings to the religious of the Order of Clerics Regular Minor during the General Audience, recalled the death of their confrère, Fr. Richard Masivi, who was killed on 2 February in the Democratic Republic of Congo, after celebrating Mass on the Day of Consecrated Life.
The Pope described Fr. Richard as being victim of a horrible and deplorable act of violence, and urged that his death “not discourage his religious family and the entire Christian community of that nation from being heralds and witnesses of goodness and fraternity despite the difficulties, imitating the example of Jesus, the Good Shepherd".
The murder of Fr. Masivi
36-year old Fr. Masivi was found dead in his car on 2 February. He had been shot by armed men in Vusesa, between Kirumba and Mighobwe, in the territory of Lubero (North Kivu).
He was returning to his parish, after having celebrated the World Day of Consecrated Life, in Kanyaboyonga.
Announcing his death in a statement, Bishop Melchisédec Sikuli Paluku, Bishop of Butombo-Beni where Fr. Masivi served, expressed his deep sorrow for the death of the priest. He also announced that an investigation into the murder had been launched.
Similarly, the Conference of Major Superiors of the Democratic Republic of Congo denounced the assassination of the priest and called on civil authorities to ensure the security of citizens, particularly priests and consecrated persons who have dedicated their lives to the service of the People of God.
The funeral Mass for Fr. Masivi was celebrated on 5 February.
Violence continues to plague the eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo, fueled by the presence of various armed groups.
Recently, on 2 February, at least 50 persons were killed and several others injured following an attack on a site for internally displaced people in Savo, Ituri Province.
Despite large-scale military operations to curb the activities of the armed groups, reports of violent attacks from the region are not uncommon and have made for a worsening humanitarian situation, with 19.6 million people in dire need of assistance according to the United Nations.