An estimated 10,000 people attended the funeral rites of Fr. Fausto Tentorio, PIME, slain on 17 October 2011 near the parish church in Arakan, North Cotabato. He was 59 years old.
Bishop Romulo de la Cruz, Kidapawan Diocese, presided during the mass on 25 October 2011 at 9:30 in the morning, Our Lady Mediatrix of All Graces Cathedral, Kidapawan City. He asked in his homily: “Even when peace and justice will finally arrive in Arakan, his memory and martyrdom shall not be forgotten.” Some 88 priests (or 100?), including 6 other bishops concelebrated with Bishop de la Cruz.
Fr. Alfredo Palomar, Jr. of Kidapawan, read Pope Benedict XVI’s message to Apostolic Nuncio. Pope Benedict praised Fr. Fausto for his bravery and courage. “A good priest, a fervent believer who for many years served the people of the Philippines in a courageous and indefatigable way”, he wrote.
Fr. Gian Battista Zanchi, PIME, Superior General, said after the mass: “The Diocese of Kidapawan is now soaked with the blood of Fr. Fausto and Fr. Tulio”. Fr. Tulio was killed by militiamen led by Norberto Manero on 11 April 1985 at Esperanza, Tulunan, North Cotabato.
Italy’s Ambassador to the Philippines Luca Fornari expressed indignation over Tentorio’s killing and the prevailing climate of impunity in the Philippines that allowed the murder of the missionary and indigenous peoples.
Felicci Tentorio, Fausto’s brother, thanked everyone. Speaking in Italian he said: “Although we are sad over his sudden death, we are a bit heartened by the show of love of the Filipino people”.
Other notables present: Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Juliano Soliman, Department of Welfare and Development, Governor Emmylou Mendoza, North Cotabato and Lt. Gen. Arthur Tabaquero, AFP, EastMinCom Commander (I think).
Fr. Fausto’s coffin was made of mahogany, a tree he himself planted.
From the Cathedral the remains were brought to the Bishop’s Compound, Balindog, some seven kilometers distant.
He was buried near Fr. Tulio’s grave.
Bishop Nereo Odchimar, Bishop of Tandag, Surigao Sur and CBCP President wrote before the funeral: “How long will evil men continue to plot against those who courageously protest against the sufferings of the poor and the degradation of God’s creation?”
Archbishop Orlando Quevedo, OMI, Cotabato Archdiocese, wrote in his blog “Perspective”: I have no hesitation to call Fr. Fausto Tentorio as a martyr for justice and peace.
The only enemies he could make are those who wanted to silence his voice appealing for justice and peace for the indigenous peoples and for God’s creation.
If the perpetrators think that his murder would silence priests, religious sisters and brothers, and bishops from proclaiming the justice of God’s Kingdom, they are wrong.
Marbel Diocese was represented by some priests led by Fr. Bobby Parreño, Episcopal Vicar for Clergy.
Fr. Fausto’s Last Will and Testament: “…what the Lord requires of you: only to do justice, and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8). (Fr. Alex Salas provided some details)