Philippines    KILLING OF CLARETIAN PRIEST 'PART OF MISSION'
Claretian priests in the southern Philippines say the sadness brought by Muslim extremists' torture and slaying of a young member of their congregation has strengthened their commitment to mission there.
   "I look at Father Gallardo's death as a blessing to the congregation, because all martyrs are a blessing and a gift to the Church," Father Carlos de Rivas told UCA News at the funeral of Fr Rhoel Gallardo.
   The Claretian provincial superior asserted that his congregation will never retreat from its missionary work in the Mindanao region. Father Gallardo, 34, was among some 50 people seized and held hostage by the extremist Abu Sayyaf Group in Basilan province. His body was found with some of the toenails torn off.
   
UCAN
23/5/00

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