By Bishop Gaudencio  Rosales of Malaybalay  (misyononline)

Father Nery Lito  Satur, the young parish priest of Guinayoran, Valencia, Bukidnon, in the Diocese  of Malaybalay, was murdered on 14 October 1991 in an ambush. It is believed that  illegal loggers were behind this. He was one of 45 priests, deacons and local  citizens deputized as forest officers by the Department of Environment and  Resources to arrest illegal loggers. The then Bishop of Malaybalay, Gaudencio  Rosales gave this homily at the funeral of Father Nery.

I feel bad, not because Fr Nerly Lito Satur gave up his  life for the cause of the Gospel; this is God’s will. But I am very angry  because the devil is still so active in our local church. The worst part is that  the devil has friends and accomplices here! Evil struck again! This time to  pluck the life of a very young priest given to the crusade of keeping integrity  of nature to make farm livelihood more productive for the poor . . .

There was a time when men in uniform would strongly accuse  priests as radicals, fomenting violence and rebellion.

I say this loud and clear that not one of our priests, not  one of our religious, not one of our church workers in this Local Church  following the paths that our Apostolic Vision draws us to, subscribes to  violence, encourages it, motivates it or even befriends it as a means to  integral salvation in and through Jesus. Anyone who voices the contrary is not  speaking for the Church! Above all he is not speaking for Christ.

Father Nery defended the ecological balance, he actually  upheld the Government’s Total Logging Ban in the province. And he did this not  for any political reason, but in an honest belief that the forests are for the  future life of the poor in the country.

Now that Father Nery is dead we demand justice for him and  the Church that he served so well. And the government authorities whose  obligation it is to secure what is just, should better work this out soon for  Father Nery . . .

Thank you brother priests, for showing your love and  brotherhood with Nery; thank you for the time, trust and love you shared with  him. Thank you for accepting the price of the love we know in Jesus. We can  never inflict harm, but we are always ready to be harmed while we are giving  Christ to the people. Victimhood is at the core of poverty which brings us to  the very heart of His Kingdom – Love.

In 1997, under the  name ‘Dency B. Rosales’ the Cardinal wrote Fr Nery Satur and the Church He Died For (Claretian Publications).

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