Colombian Catholic pastoral worker murdered

21/10/2011

Following news of the assassination of Italian missionary Father Fausto Tentorio in the southern Philippines on Tuesday, Catholic Mission has learned of the death of another pastoral worker murdered in Colombia last Sunday.

The sad news that Luis Eduardo Garcia, a Catholic layman and justice advocate from El Tambo Colombia was killed on Sunday 16 October, during Mission Month, “underscores the human cost of taking Christ’s message of love and peace into a world that is rent with violence and hatred,” Catholic Mission’s Nation Director Martin Teulan said.

“We ask for justice to be done for Mister Garcia and his killers to be found,” Mr Teulan said. “We stand with the Church in Colombia in offering our prayers and deepest condolences to the family of Luis Garcia in this time of great suffering.”

The Colombian Bishops Conference through the Secretariat for Social and Pastoral works pledged its solidarity with Luis Eduardo Garcia’s family. Mr Garcia was their respected leader in the city of Popayan. He was assassinated last Sunday while travelling to his home in El Tambo.

In the statement issued after Mr Garcia’s death, Monsignor Hector Fabio Henao expressed his deepest condolences to the Garcia family in their grieving. Mr Garcia’s murder was “a moment of reflection on the value of so many people consecrated to the service of their suffering brethren”.

"We join the people of El Tambo. You have lost a sensitive man and a born leader. The Lord who mourned the death of his friend Lazarus is the one who guides our steps at the moment. The Lord receives the testimony of Luis Eduardo as an offering of love and gives him a place among those who love him," wrote Mgr Henao.

Other civil rights groups joined in condemning Mr Garcia’s murder. At the time of his killing he was travelling from Popayan to his home in El Tambo. His vehicle was intercepted by a guerrilla group. He was abducted to another place, and murdered. His body was later recovered.

The Episcopal Conference of Colombia told Fides news service that Luis Eduardo Garcia had worked with the "social and cultural reactivation" project set up by the Colombian Bishops Conference. It is assisting people affected by the severe weather that swept the country in late 2010 and early this year. He was also employed by the municipality of his hometown, El Tambo, for this project, and was known for his dedication and commitment to the farmers, to his community, and victims within the natural disaster area.

Luis Eduardo Garcia studied at the University of Cauca and had extensive experience in social development projects and attention to the most vulnerable in the Colombian population. His commitment to the defence of human rights and international humanitarian law, contributed to the creation of conditions for building peace in this region of Cauca.

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