Memorial Day: Remembering the Fallen of the Mission of the Church as Well

This little girl plants Filipino and American flags on the graves of fallen soldiers in the Philippines. Memorial Day in the United States is a solemn occasion for us to remember those who sacrificed their lives, placing themselves in harms way for the sake of the nation. We do not honor war, but the sacrifice made by brave men and women.

In light of this, the Church published the names of pastoral workers, priests, men and women religious and lay Catholics killed in 2009. As far as we know the total number of Catholic priests, men and women religious and seminarians killed during 2009 was 37, the highest number in the last 10 years and nearly double the number reported in 2008. There were 30 priests, 2 religious sisters, 2 seminarians, and 3 lay volunteers.

In analyzing the list for each continent, this year, the one with the highest number were the Americas, with 23 pastoral workers killed (18 priests, 2 seminarians, 1 sister, and 2 lay persons), followed by Africa, where 9 priests, 1 religious, and 1 laymen lost their lives. In Asia, 2 priests were killed, and in Europe, one priest was killed.

Recalling the many pastoral workers killed throughout the world and praying for their eternal rest “a duty of gratitude for the whole Church and an incentive for each one of us to witness ever more courageously to our faith and hope in the One who on the Cross triumphed over the power of violence and hatred for ever with his almighty love.” (Benedict XVI, Regina Caeli, March 24, 2008)

You may download the the full dossier here

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