ROME — Pope Francis condemned the “unjustifiable and deplorable” murder of a young Congolese priest by presumed Islamic terrorists.
The pope offered a special greeting Wednesday to the Religious of the Order of Clerics Regular Minor, whose confrere, Father Richard Masivi Kasereka, was killed on February 2 in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“May the death of Father Richard, the victim of unjustifiable and deplorable violence, not discourage his family, his religious family and the entire Christian community of that nation from being heralds and witnesses of goodness and fraternity, despite the difficulties,” Francis said, “imitating the example of Jesus, the Good Shepherd.”
The 36-year-old priest had been ordained for just three years when he was brought down by gunmen after celebrating Mass on the World Day of Consecrated Life.
The murder took place in the northeastern area of Lubero as Father Kasereka was being driven home to his parish, St. Michael the Archangel, after having celebrated Mass in Kanyabayonga.
The murder was believed to be the work of the Allied Democratic Forces, an Islamist terror group originating from Uganda that has carried out several attacks recently in the priest’s diocese of Butembo-Beni.
“It is with great sadness that our diocese announces the sudden death of Fr. Richard Masivi Kasereka, a member of the Order of the Clerics Regular Minor and parish priest of the parish of St. Michael the Archangel of Kaseghe,” read a statement by the priest’s bishop, Melchisédec Sikuli Paluku.
The bishop also condemned the attack, stressing that armed groups are “destroying schools and hospitals.”