Philippine Catholic Priest Shot And Killed In The Church Before Mass… As Blood Flows Beneath The Statue Of The Blessed Virgin Mary 

Philippine Catholic Priest Shot And Killed In The Church Before Mass… As Blood Flows Beneath The Statue Of The Blessed Virgin Mary 

Fr. Richmond Nilo of the Diocese of Cabanatuan was shot to death by unidentified gunmen on Sunday in the Nuestra Señora de la Nieve Chapel in Zaragoza, Nueva Ecija, according to a spot report from the Nueva Ecija Provincial Police Provincial Office.

Rev. Fr. Nilo, 40-year-old parish priest of Zaragoza, was behind the altar getting ready to start Mass at around 6:05 p.m. when two unidentified men shot him through a window four times.

A Twittter post by CBCP News, the news service of the Media Office of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, broke the news via Twitter.

“We condemn the attack on Father Nilo as we Christians condemn all killings and violence and all forms of impunity,” said Fr. Jetts Jetanove, vicar general of the Diocese of Cabanatuan.

Nilo is the third priest to be murdered following the April 29 attack on 37-year-old Fr. Mark Ventura and the Dec. 5, 2017 ambush of 72-year-old Fr. Marcelito Paez at Jaen town in Nueva Ecija province.

Ventura was killed by a gunman at a gymnasium after he concluded Mass in Gattaran town at Cagayan province. He was a known anti-mining activist.

The government recently drew flak from priests and over social media when President Duterte nonchalantly linked his death to an illicit affair during a talk he gave in Cebu.

Paez, a retired priest, was attacked as he drove through Jaen after dropping off a political detainee and his family shortly after he was released.

Paez had been a political activist since the martial law years under then President Ferdinand Marcos.

Official Statement Of The Diocese Of  Cabanatuan On The Murder Of Father Richmond Nilo. 

“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.”
(John 15.18)

No priest, and no human being for that matter, deserves to be killed with utter brutality, disrespect and impunity. Every priest, however imperfect, is God’s gift to His Church and we are duty-bound to respect them asambassadors for Christ” (2 Cor 5:20). To kill a priest then, for whatever motive or cause, is not only unchristian and inhuman, it is also un-Filipino.

It is therefore with great pain and profound sadness that we convey to you the sudden demise of our beloved Fr. Richmond V. Nilo, the parish priest of St. Vincent Ferrer Parish in Zaragoza, Nueva Ecija, and Financial Administrator of the Diocese of Cabanatuan. He was treacherously gunned down yesterday evening by still unidentified hired killers as he was about to celebrate the community’s Sunday Mass inside Nuestra Senora dela Nieve Chapel in Brgy Mayamot, Zaragoza.

We condemn in the strongest possible terms and deeply mourn the brutal murder of Fr. Richmond V. Nilo, and the escalating violence and culture of impunity in the country even against helpless clergymen. We earnestly call on our people to pray for the soul of our beloved Fr Richmond, for peace, healing and security of our communities, and for the Clergy and Religious especially in our diocese.

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.

Indeed, it is a tragic day and an irreparable loss for the local Church of Cabanatuan and for all people of goodwill. May his death lead us to love and live the Catholic faith which Fr. Richmond, in his nearly 17 years in the priesthood, undoubtedly loved, courageously preached and staunchly defended. May our Blessed Mother, La Virgen Divina Pastora, protect and intercede for us.

Bishop of Cabanatuan
June 11, 2018.

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