Church outraged by murder of another priest

Church outraged by murder of another priest

Fr. Richmnond Nilo was gunned down while he was about to celebrate Mass in the chapel of Brgy. Mayamot, Zaragoza, Nueva Ecija on Sunday, June 10. PHOTO COURTESY OF ILSA REYES

By Roy Lagarde

June 11, 2018

Manila, Philippines

Catholic bishops bewailed the ‘escalating violence’ in the country even against clergymen, following the killing of another priest in Nueva Ecija province.

Archbishop Romulo Valles, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, said the killing of Fr. Richmond Nilo is nothing but an “outrageously evil act!”

“We make our appeal once again to the police authorities to act swiftly in the investigation and to go after the perpetrators of this heinous crime and bring them to justice,” Valles said.

The archbishop lamented that the recent attacks against church people happens in the Year of the Clergy and Consecrated Persons.

Nilo is the third priest to be murdered in the recent months, after Fr. Tito Paez in December last year, and Fr. Mark Ventura in April.

He was gunned down by still unidentified assailants and died on the spot inside the Barangay chapel of Mayamot in Zaragoza town just as he was about to celebrate the Mass on late Sunday afternoon.

The attack happened just four days after Fr. Rey Urmeneneta, a former police chaplain, survived an assassination attempt in Calamba City on June 6.

Nilo, 43, was the parish priest of St. Vincent Ferrer Parish in Zaragoza town and, at the same time, the Financial Administrator of the Diocese of Cabanatuan.

Aside from serving vital positions, he was also known for his active involvement in the apostolate for the deaf and mute in the diocese.

“I am deeply sad and bothered because we may note that Fr. Nilo is the 3rd priest to be killed in these recent months,” said Valles.

Bishop Sofronio Bancud of Cabanatuan said the priest’s death was a “tragic day and an irreparable loss” for the diocese.

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms and deeply mourn the brutal murder of Fr. Nilo, and the escalating violence and culture of impunity in the country even against helpless clergymen,” Bancud said.

He said that no priest, and no human being for that matter, deserves to be killed with utter brutality, disrespect and impunity.

“To kill a priest then, for whatever motive or cause, is not only unchristian and inhuman, it is also un-Filipino,” he said.

Bishop Bancud then demanded justice for Nilo who served his diocese for nearly 17 years, as he asked the faithful to pray for the soul of the slain priest as well for an end to killings in the country.

“We demand for justice, for thorough and impartial investigation of the case and for its swift resolution, as we likewise appeal to those who might have material knowledge on this matter to please cooperate with police authorities,” he said.

“We earnestly call on our people to pray for Fr. Richmond, for peace, healing and security of our communities, and for the clergy and the religious, especially in our diocese,” Bancud added.