This prayer goes to Fr. Mark Ventura and to all the priest who risk their lives to serve others.
You came from among us to be, for us, one who serves.
We thank you for ministering Christ to us and helping us minister Christ to each other.
We are greatful for the many gifts you bring to our community: for drawing us together in worship, for visiting us in our homes, for comforting us in sickness, for showing us compassion, for blessing our marriage, for baptising our children, for confirming us in our calling, for supporting us in bereavement, for helping us to grow in our faith, for encouraging us to take the initiative, for helping the whole community realize God’s presence among us.
For our part, we pray that we may always be attentive to your needs and never take you for granted.
You, like us, need friendship and love, welcome and a sense of belonging, kind words and acts of thoughtfulness.
We pray, also, for the priests who have wounded priesthood.
May we be willing to forgive and may they be open to healing.
Let us support one another during times of crisis. God our Father, we ask you to bless our Priests and confirm them in their calling.
Give them the gifts they need to respond with generosity and a joyful heart. We offer this prayer for our priests, who are our brothers and friends.
Fr. Mark Anthony Ventura, known for his anti-mining advocacy, was in the middle of blessing the children and talking to the choir in a gymnasium in Barangay Piña Weste when he was shot on the head and chest.
Fr. Mark Ventura was a young Catholic priest was shot dead in Cagayan province on Sunday, becoming the second cleric slain in around four months.
He was murdered at about 8:15am right after celebrating Mass at a gymnasium in Brgy. Peña Weste, on the outskirts of Gattaran town.
The priest was blessing children and talking with the choir members when a still unidentified male donning a motorcycle helmet emerged from the back of the gym and shot the victim twice.
Quoting reports from the Police Regional Office No. 2 in Tuguegarao City, Philippine National Police chief Oscar Albayalde said the suspect ran towards the highway and rode on a single motorcycle driven by another unidentified companion and fled towards Baggao, Cagayan.
Archbishop Sergio Utleg Tuguegarao has already led prayers at the site of the crime. He still has to issue his statement as of this posting.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines has deplored the priest’s murder, offering their prayers for Ventura, for his bereaved family, and the lay faithful of Tuguegarao.
“We condemn this evil act!” said Archbishop Romulo Valles, CBCP President.“We are totally shocked and in utter disbelief to hear about the brutal killing of Fr. Mark Ventura.”
The bishops also appealed to the authorities “to act swiftly in going after the perpetrators of this crime and to bring them to justice”.
Ventura is currently the director of San Isidro Labrador Mission Station, a post he only assumed early this month, in Mabuno village, also Gattaran.
A priest for almost seven years, he was also known for his anti-mining advocacies and for helping indigenous peoples in the province.
Prior to his assignment in Gattaran, Ventura served as Rector of the Thomas Aquinas Major Seminary based in Aparri, Cagayan.
In December 2017, Fr. Marcelito Paez, 72, was killed by still unidentified gunmen after he facilitated the release of a political prisoner in Jaen, Nueva Ecija.
+Eternal Rest grant unto the soul of Father Mark Ventura, O LORD. May Your Perpetual Light shine upon him. May he rest in peace.
STATEMENT of the President of CBCP
Good afternoon. Please find below the statement of Abp Romulo Valles, CBCP President, on the brutal killing of Fr. Mark Ventura of Tuguegarao:
Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
We are totally shocked and in utter disbelief to hear about the brutal killing of Fr. Mark Ventura, Catholic priest of the Archdiocese of Tuguegarao. Right after celebrating the Sunday Eucharist at eight o’clock in the morning today, he was shot to death by murderers riding in tandem.
We offer our prayers for Fr Ventura, for his bereaved family, and the lay faithful of Tuguegarao. We also pray for Archbishop Sergio Utleg, his priests and the religious of the archdiocese, who this year, in union with the whole Church in the Philippines, are celebrating the Year of the Clergy and Consecrated Persons.
We condemn this evil act!
We make our appeal to the authorities to act swiftly in going after the perpetrators of this crime and to bring them to justice.
May God have mercy on us all!
From the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines
Absp. Romulo G. Valles
April 29, 2018