TERRORISM spares no one.

In the Philippines, Irish missionary Fr. Rufus Halley, MSSC, 57, was buried last Sept. 1 at the Columban Father’s plot in Cagayan de Oro City after he was killed Islamic militants.

Investigations showed that Fr. Halley, who spent 30 years of missionary work in the Philippines, was a victim of a foiled kidnapping by six suspected members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). Two suspects were arrested by local authorities.

Fr. Halley, known to the locals as “Fr. Popong,” was on his way back to his convent after an inter-religious dialogue when the group accosted him. When he resisted his assailants, the priest was shot dead.

In a statement the next day, CBCP Archbishop Orlando B. Quevedo, O.M.I. said, “The brutal and unconscionable murder of Fr. Rufus Halley, MSSC, is a great tragedy. The killing of an innocent person is tragic enough. The killing of a respected, much loved priest and man of God, in the person of Fr. Rufus Halley, is compounded tragedy. We strongly condemn his brutal murder in Lanao del Sur.”

Ironically, the incident happened less than 24 hours before a scheduled gathering of church leaders for peace talks.

“Fr. Halley was a peace advocate, much loved by the people among whom he worked, Muslims and Christians alike. The cause of peace in Mindanao has lost another peacemaker. But his death will surely bear abundant fruit for justice and peace in the wise and loving providence of God,” added Archbishop Quevedo.

The Missionary Society of St. Columban expressed grief over Fr. Halley’s death in Malabang, Lanao del Sur, as his brother-priests prepared to gather more information on the ambush. Marlon M. Castor

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