Fr. Andrea Santoro a 60-year-old Italian
priest who was part of the Vatican's "Fidei Donum" program,
which sends priests to help in the missions for a fixed period of
time. In the afternoon of Feb. 5, the Italian priest was shot twice
while he was praying in his parish, St. Mary Church, in the Black
Sea coastal city of Trebizond.
Father Santoro, from the Diocese of Rome, had been serving in Turkey
for about 10 years,
Murdered Priest's Letter to Benedict XVI
"A Visit of Yours Would Be a Consolation"
Here is a translation of a letter dated Jan. 31 and written to
the Pope by Father Andrea Santoro, the Italian missionary who was
shot and killed last Sunday in his parish church in Trabzon, Turkey.
Benedict XVI directed that the letter be published in the Italian
edition of L'Osservatore Romano. According to the Pontiff, the letter
"reflects the zeal, faith and love that beat in the Don Andrea
of Fr. Santoro’s letter to
Pope Benedict XVI
Rome, January 31, 2006
I am writing to you in the name of some Georgian ladies of my parish,
St. Mary's in Trabzon (Trebisonda) on the Black Sea, Turkey. They
dictated it to me in Turkish, I have translated it for you exactly
as it came from their lips and I give it to you on the occasion
of my visit to Rome. I am don Andrea Santoro, a Fidei Donum priest
of the Church of Rome in Turkey, in the Diocese of Anatolia, resident
here for the past 5 years. My flock is made up of 8/9 Catholics,
many Orthodox of the city, and Muslims, who make up 99% of the population.
You, Holiness, are both the Bishop of my native diocese (Rome) as
well as Bishop of my diocese of destination, as it is an "Apostolic
Vicariate." In virtue of this double title, I give you the
letter of the three Georgian women.
* * *
We greet you in the name of all Georgians.
We ask God to give you health in the name of Jesus.
We are very happy that God chose you as Pope. Pray for us, for
the poor, for the miserable all over the world, for children. We
believe your prayer reaches God directly. Georgians are very poor,
they have debts, they have no homes or work. We are without strength.
At present we live in Trabzon and work. Pray that God will bless
us and create in us a new and pure heart. We do not forget the Christian
life and we try to be a good example for Turks in the name of God
so that through us they will see and glorify God.
We have many things to say and recount, but, "Inshala"
[God willing], if you come to Trabzon, we will be able to speak
face to face. Your coming will be a joyful celebration. We pray
and hope that God will give you health, peace and a Christian life.
We kiss your hands. We will be happy if you reply and send us a
photo with your signature.
You, as an ordinary father, pray for don Andrea and Loredana [an
Italian volunteer who works in the parish], that God will give them
strength and that through them the Church will grow and multiply
[Signed:] Maria, Marina and Maria
In the name of the other Georgian Christians, we invite you to
Trabzon on the occasion of your coming visit to Turkey in November.
* * *
I join these three women to truly invite you to visit us. It is
a small flock, as Jesus said, which tries to be salt, leaven and
light on this earth. A visit of yours, even if brief, would be a
consolation and encouragement. If God wills … nothing is impossible
I greet you and thank you for everything. Your books served me
as nourishment during my theology studies. Bless me. And may God
bless and assist you.
Don Andrea Santoro
Fidei Donum priest of the Diocese of Rome in Turkey,
Diocese of Anatolia, city of Trabzon on the Black Sea,
St. Mary's Church
OF THE SAINTS
MARY, MOTHER OF GOD
Today we begin our new year at the Eucharistic Celebration. We thank God for Mary, Jesus' mother, who brought the Savior into the world. Because she is the mother of Jesus, God's Son, she truly is the Mother of God.
ST. BASIL AND ST. GREGORY NAZIANZEN
Sts. Basil and Gregory were born in Asia Minor in the year 330. This area is modern-day Turkey. Basil's grandmother, father, mother, two brothers and a sister are all saints.
St. Genevieve was born around 422 in Nanterre, a small village four miles from Paris. While still very young, she desired to devote her life to Jesus.
ST. ELIZABETH ANN SETON
St. Elizabeth was called "Mother Seton" by everyone knew her by when she died on January 4, 1821, in Emmitsburg, Maryland.
ST. JOHN NEUMANN
St. John Neumann was not only quiet, he was short-five feet, two inches tall. His eyes were very kind and he smiled a lot.
BLESSED ANDRE BESSETTE
St. Alfred Bessette was born on August 9, 1845, not far from Montreal, Canada. He was the eighth of twelve children.
ST. RAYMOND OF PENYAFORT
St. Raymond was born between 1175 and 1180 in a little town near Barcelona, Spain. He was educated at the cathedral school in Barcelona and became a priest. .
St. Thorfinn's life were discovered in details long after his death. He died in 1285, in a monastery in Belgium. Fifty years later, his tomb was accidentally opened during some construction work.
ST. JULIAN AND ST. BASILISSA
St. Julian and St. Basilissa were husband and wife. They lived in the early part of the fourth century.
St. William came from a wealthy French family. Even as a boy, he did not waste time fooling around or being idle.
St. Theodosius was born in Asia Minor in 423. As a young man, he set out on pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
ST. MARGUERITE BOURGEOYS
St. Marguerite was born in Troyes, France, on April 17, 1620, but spent most of her eighty years in Montreal, Canada.
ST. HILLARY OF POITIERS
St. Hilary was born into a pagan family on 315 in Poitiers, a town in France. His family was rich and well-known. Hilary received a good education.
St. Macrina and her husband learned the high price of being true to their Christian beliefs.
ST. PAUL THE HERMIT
St. Paul was born into a Christian family in the year 229. They lived in Thebes, Egypt. Paul's parents showed him by their own lives how to love God and worship him with one's whole heart. Paul
ST. BERARD AND COMPANIONS
Six Franciscan friars accepted from St. Francis of Assisi an assignment to go to Morocco. They were to announce Christianity to the Muslims.
ST. ANTHONY OF EGYPT
St. Anthony was born in 251 in a small village in Egypt. When he was twenty years old, his parents died. They left him a large estate and placed him in charge of the care of his young sister.
Blessed Christina lived in the sixteenth century. She was born in Abruzzi, Italy. Her baptismal name was Matthia. As she grew up, Matthia felt the call to a life of prayer and penance.
St. Canute was a strong, wise king of Denmark. He lived in the eleventh century. Canute was a great athlete, an expert horseman, and a marvelous general.
ST. FABIAN AND ST. SEBASTIAN
St. Fabian was a pope who died a martyr in 250. It was during the persecution by Emperor Decius.
St. Agnes was a Roman girl who died in 304. She was just twelve years old when she suffered martyrdom for her faith.
ST. VINCENT OF SARAGOSSA
St. Vincent was martyred in Spain in 304. This was the same year that Agnes was martyred in Rome.
ST. JOHN THE ALMSGIVER
St. John was a dedicated Christian nobleman. He used his wealth and position to help poor people. After his wife passed away, John became a priest and bishop. In 608, he was consecrated the patriarch of Alexandria, Egypt.
ST. FRANCIS DE SALES
St. Francis was born at the de Sales castle in Savoy, France, on August 21, 1567. His wealthy family provided him with an excellent education. By the age of twenty-four, Francis was a Doctor of Law.
CONVERSION OF ST. PAUL
St. Paul lived at the time of Jesus but as far as we know they never met. Paul was first called Saul. As a young man, he was a very bright student of the Hebrew religion.
ST. TIMOTHY AND ST. TITUS
St. Timothy was born in Lycaonia in Asia Minor. His mother was a Jew and his father was a Gentile.
ST. ANGELA MERICI
St. Angela was born in the small Italian town of Desenzano, Italy, around 1474. Her parents died when she was ten. She and her only sister, who was three years older, loved each other very much.
ST. THOMAS AQUINAS
St. Thomas lived in the thirteenth century. He was the son of a noble family of Italy. He was very intelligent, but he never boasted about it. He knew that his mind was a gift from God.
St. Gildas was born around the year 500 in Britain. He set out as a young man to practice a self-sacrificing lifestyle.
St. Bathildis was a frightened, Christian English girl could have never imagined what her future would be like.
ST. JOHN BOSCO
St. John Bosco was born in Turin, Italy, on August 16, 1815. His parents were poor farmers. When John was two, his father died. John's mother struggled to keep the family together.
PHOTO OF THE MONTH
of the Relics of the Passion
for Holy Relics)
Why did Jesus, the sinless one sent from the Father in heaven,
submit himself to John’s baptism? John preached a
baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins (Luke
3:3). In this humble submission we see a foreshadowing of
the “baptism” of Jesus bloody death upon the
cross. Jesus’ baptism is the acceptance and the beginning
of his mission as God’s suffering Servant (Isaiah
52:13-15; 53:1-12). He allowed himself to be numbered among
sinners. Jesus submitted himself entirely to his Father’s
will. Out of love he consented to this baptism of death
for the remission of our sins. Do you know the joy of trust
and submission to God?