Colombian community grieves local priest’s murder

Bogotá, Colombia, May 8, 2013 / 04:03 pm (CNA).- The Bishops’ Conference of Colombia lamented the “atrocious” murder of Father Jose Antonio Valle Bayona, whose body was found in a ditch in rural area of Barranquilla.

In a statement issued today, the bishops recalled that 48 year-old Father Valle was pastor of Christ the King Parish in the Archdiocese of Barranquilla.

Police have offered an $11,000 reward for anyone providing information about the identity and location of those responsible for the May 6 killing. The priest had been stabbed 17 times, mostly in the face and neck.

The Archdiocese of Barranquilla, led by Archbishop Jairo Jaramillo Monsalve, said in its message that the entire community and all of its members “repudiate this atrocious act that took the life of Father Valle Bayona, causing profound sorrow in the heart of the Church and in the communities where he worked as an ordained minister of the Lord.”

This crime “shows once again the difficult situation our society is facing” and the widespread violence that is causing “an alarming number of victims in the country.”

However, the archdiocese said, the March for Life scheduled to take place on May 19 in Barranquilla will take on even greater meaning and importance in light of the killing.

The fundamental goal of the demonstration “is the rejection of every kind of violence that threatens human life,” it said.

“We thank the police and all authorities for their support and we invite the perpetrators to sincere repentance in faith that will bring them to the merciful forgiveness of God,” the archdiocese said.

Archbishop Jaramillo Monsalve presided at the funeral for Father Valle at the Cathedral of Mary Queen of Heaven in Barranquilla.

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