Catholic News Agency reported today (Sunday, Feb. 16):
During a suspected robbery at Don Bosco College in the Venezuelan city of Valencia the evening of Feb. 15, two Salesians were stabbed to death, and another was wounded.
Fr. Jesus Plaza, 80, and Brother Luis Sanchez, 84 were both murdered; and Brother David Marin, 64, was stabbed in the leg multiple times, but is reportedly out of danger after having been treated at a local clinic.
|Fr. Jesus Plaza celebrating Mass|
On Monday, Feb. 17, ANS carried this information:
Two Salesians murdered and chapel desecrated
(ANS - Valencia) - At midnight on Saturday, February 15, two Salesians of the Colegio Don Bosco community in Valencia, Venezuela were killed. In a press release, the Salesians of Don Bosco and the Salesian Family express deep sorrow and concern about the acts of violence that occurred there. The full text:
The Catholic Church in Venezuela has suffered irreparable loss with the death of two religious of the Salesian Family who had spent so much effort serving needy young people in the vast field of education in the country.
With deep sorrow in our hearts, we are passing on tragic and painful news: around midnight on February 15, two armed youths entered Don Bosco College in Valencia and, in a violent robbery attempt, brutally murdered Fr. Jesus Plaza, 80 years of age, and Bro. Luis Sanchez, 84 years of age. In the struggle to defend his confreres, the director of the community, Fr. David Marin, was seriously injured and was taken to emergency care to be operated on. He is now out of danger.
Other than this violent abuse of community space, the delinquents also went into the chapel, where they profaned the Blessed Sacrament and stole sacred vessels and other items.
Fr. Jesus Erasmo Plaza Salessi was born June 1, 1934, in La Mesa de Ejido in Merida State. He made his first profession as a Salesian on September 8, 1952, and was ordained on August 15, 1962, in Guatemala City, where he had studied theology. He exercised his priestly ministry in all simplicity, fraternally and with particular apostolic dedication, almost always working in a parish.
Bro. Luis Edilberto Sanchez Morantes came from Boavita (Boyacá, Colombia), where he was born on October 23, 1929. His first profession as a Salesian was August 16, 1956, in Los Teques. He studied technical education and business, and spent a long and well-qualified career as a Salesian teacher among the young in high schools in Sarría, Puerto La Cruz, and Don Bosco Valencia.
With sorrow at the loss of these elderly Salesians, we also feel deep regret for the two young assailants, obviously disturbed, who committed this terrible act and cut off the lives of two men who dedicated their life to poor and needy youth. As a Salesian Family we reject any act of violence by and against any perso, and we demand that the competent authorities clarify these events and follow the path of social justice and peace which has been sorely lacking over recent years.
We ask everyone to pray for the eternal repose of Fr. Plaza and Bro. Sanchez; at the same time, we ask people to be active and vigilant in continuing to build a Venezuelan society in shared peace and safety. May the death of these two religious who have been unconditionally dedicated to the education of the poor not go unpunished; may the memory of their virtues urge us on to continue struggling for a country which is free and peaceful.