Vatican Report Reveals Normal Lives of Murdered Catholic Missionaries Amidst Violence

Los Angeles, California – An annual report from the Vatican-based news agency Fides revealed that 20 Catholic missionaries were murdered in 2023, highlighting the risks faced by those living in areas plagued by violence.

The report emphasized that many of the missionaries led normal lives in these dangerous areas and did not engage in any attention-grabbing actions. Despite the dangers they faced daily, these individuals did not give up on their Christian commitments nor did they seek safety elsewhere.

Among those killed were one bishop, eight priests, two religious brothers, one seminarian, one novice and seven laypeople. The number of missionary deaths in 2023 was slightly higher than the previous year, with 18 missionaries killed in 2022.

Notably, the list of murdered missionaries included Los Angeles Auxiliary Bishop David G. O’Connell, a prominent advocate for immigrants and the marginalized, who was found dead in his home after being shot multiple times. Another victim was U.S. Fr. Stephen J. Gutgsell, who died after being stabbed in the rectory of his parish in Nebraska.

The report also highlighted the regions where the highest number of missionaries were murdered: Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Europe. The tragic stories included a Palestinian mother and daughter who were shot by an Israeli army sniper, as well as a sacristan in southern Spain who was killed with a machete.

In conclusion, the Fides report sheds light on the risks faced by Catholic missionaries in various parts of the world as they continue their work in the face of violence and persecution. The courage and dedication of these individuals serve as a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made in the name of faith and service.