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Agenzia Fides , the Vatican’s missionary press agency, has published the names of Catholics killed while on mission in 2009. According to the report, 30 priests, 2 religious sisters, 2 seminarians, and 3 lay volunteers were killed last year—nearly twice the number killed in 2008. The report hesitates to call these men and women who died while serving the Church martyrs because the circumstances of many of their deaths are unknown. But reading through the short biographies of each pastoral worker a pattern emerges, entire lives dedicated to serving Christ in the poor: Fr. Joseph Bertaina, 58 years a priest, over 40 years a missionary in Kenya; Fr. Ramiro Luden, 34 years a missionary in Brazil; Fr. Mariano Arroyo Merino, 39 years a priest, 12 years a missionary in Cuba; Fr. Jean Gaston Buli, 24 years a priest in Congo; Fr. Jeremiah Roche, 41 years a missionary in Kenya.

We can surely hope that they have been greeted as we all hope to be greeted some day: “Well done, my good and faithful servant . . . . Come, share your master’s joy.” Fides’ list and a short biography of each of the missionaries killed in 2009 can be found here .

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