By Jim Fair

The Bishop of the diocese of San Carlos de Venezuela, Mgr. Polito Rodríguez Méndez, as well as the Congregation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (Dehonians), issued a statement to inform about the violent death of Father José Manuel de Jesus Ferreira, parish priest of the Diocesan Eucharistic Shrine of San Juan Bautista, reported Fides News Agency.

The murder took place on Tuesday 20 October, after the priest had celebrated Mass in the presence of a few people, due to the pandemic, while he was greeting them outside the church, on the street. The statement concludes by asking to pray for the priest.

Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) expressed its deepest condolences to the Bishop of the diocese, Mons. Polito Rodriguez, Father Jose Manuel’s parents, siblings, and all parishioners for this great loss.

During the last two trips to Venezuela, ACN visited Father Jose Manuel, whom it supported in replacing the roof of the sanctuary. The young priest impressed us and left an indelible mark as a priest who served his people, devoted missionary and with a great love for the Eucharist.

According to the information from the diocese of San Carlos, the murder took place after the celebration of the Eucharist yesterday evening- due to COVID restrictions with a very small group of people. When they were saying goodbye, the assailant held one of the worships and the priest stepped in to help that person. It was then that he was shot in the chest with a bullet that pierced his heart. At the end of his life, too, we see in him as an example of love for the Eucharist and devotion to others. However, it greatly saddens us that this 39-year-old priest has become the victim of the violence that has plagued the country for years, at a time when Venezuela needs its priests more than ever.

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