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Two Salesians killed in Venezuela

By ANS, Rome  - 1 Comments
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Kolkata, Feb. 17. We join in fraternal solidarity with our Salesian confreres in Venezuela and the entire congregation in mourning the death of two Salesians, Fr Jesús Erasmo Plaza Salessi and Br Luis Edilberto Sánchez Morantes, of Colegio Don Bosco community in Valencia (Venezuela) killed on the night of 15 February.

Here below is the full text of the Press release published by the Salesians:
''The Catholic Church in Venezuela has suffered irreparable loss with the death of two Religious of the Salesian Family who had spent so much effort serving needy young peoples in the vast field of education in the country.

With deep sorrow in our heart we are passing on tragic and painful news: around midnight on 15 February, two armed young people entered Don Bosco College in Valencia and in a violent robbery attempt, brutally murdered Fr Jesús Plaza, 80 years of age, and Bro. Luis Sánchez, 84 years of age. In the struggle to defend his confreres, the Rector of the community, Fr David Marín, was seriously injured, and was admitted to emergency to be operated on. He is now out of danger.

Other than this violent abuse of community space, the delinquents also went into the chapel where they profaned the Blessed Sacrament and stole sacred vessels and other items.

Fr Jesús Erasmo Plaza Salessi was born 2 June 934, in La Mesa de Ejido in Mérida State. He made his first profession as a Salesian on 8 September 1952 and was ordained priest on 15 August 1962, in Guatemala City, where he had studied theology. He exercised his priestly ministry in all simplicity, fraternally and with particular apostolic dedication, almost always working in a parish.

Brother Luis Edilberto Sánchez Morantes came from Boavita (Boyacá, Colombia), where he was born on 23 October 1929. His first profession as a Salesian was 16 August 1956, in Los Teques. He studied technical education, business studies, and spent a long and well-qualified career as a Salesian teacher amongst the young in colleges in Sarría, Puerto La Cruz and Don Bosco Valencia.

With sorrow at the loss of these elderly Salesians we also feel deep regret for the two young assailants, obviously disturbed, who committed this terrible act and cut off the lives of two men who dedicated their life to poor and needy youth. As a Salesian family we reject any act of violence by and against any person and we demand that the competent authorities clarify these events and follow the path of social justice and peace which has been sorely lacking over recent years.

We ask everyone to pray for the eternal repose of Fr Plaza and Bro. Sánchez; at the same time we ask people to be active and vigilant in continuing to build a Venezuelan society in shared peace and safety. May the death of these two religious who have been unconditionally dedicated to the education of the poor, not go unpunished; may the memory of their virtues urge us on to continue struggling for a country which is free and peaceful''.

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kmsebsdb India Vijayawada
February 18, 2014

We are proud of the sacrifice, made by our two good Confreres. May the souls of Fr.Plaza and Br.Sanchez rest in peace! And may their sacrifice inspire many young men to come forward to be generous Salesians! With prayerful good wishes to the Provincial Community, Fr.Sebastian Kuthanapallil SDB, Visakhapatnam, India (Hyderabad Province)

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