Murdered Philippine Priest Mark Anthony Ventura Laid to Rest
ICC Note: Priest Mark Anthony Ventura who was shot and killed on April 29 by unidentified gunman in the northern Philippines was laid to rest on May 7. Authorities are still searching for the suspects, but believe that he was “shot dead by hired killers” as a result of a “serious personal grudge.”
05/08/2018 Philippines (UCA News) – A Catholic priest shot and killed in the northern Philippines last week was laid to rest on May 7 as authorities doubled their efforts to catch his killers.
At least 1,000 people attended the funeral procession of slain priest Father Mark Anthony Ventura in Tuguegarao Archdiocese.
The 37-year-old priest was killed on April 29 minutes after saying Mass at a mission station in Gattaran, in Cagayan province.
“We just lost a dedicated priest, one who smelled like his sheep, to an assassin’s bullet,” Archbishop Sergio Utleg of Tuguegarao told mourners.
Several bishops and at least 50 priests from several dioceses also attended the funeral Mass for Father Ventura.
Archbishop Utleg said the church was “appalled by [the] horrifying incident,” adding that the slain priest “did not deserve to die.”
The prelate said that if a priest can die a brutal death “what can prevent anyone including myself from being killed for any reason whatsoever?”
The archbishop said Father Ventura had volunteered to be assigned to San Isidro Labrador mission station where he was killed.
“There he labored as a true and tireless servant of God, switching from directing a school on weekdays and pasturing his flock on weekends,” said Archbishop Utleg.
The prelate described Father Ventura as a pastor “in the peak of health and at the height of zeal for souls.”
“We were all expecting from him a long and fruitful service as a priest. All that is gone now, brutally ended by an assassin’s bullet,” said Archbishop Utleg.
For interviews with Gina Goh, ICC’s Regional Manager, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: firstname.lastname@example.org.