The past seven days were among the deadliest for Catholic priests and religious in recent years, with one violent murder every 33 hours.
Monday, June 20, saw the killing of two Jesuit priests in Mexico.
On Saturday, June 25, Sister Luisa dell’Orto, a Little Sister of the Gospel of Saint Charles de Foucauld, was killed in Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti.
In between those murders, two more took place in Nigeria.
Also on Saturday, June 25, Father Vitus Borogo was murdered in Kaduna State, the same region where two churches were attacked a week earlier. The murderers are believed to be members of the Islamic terrorist organization Boko Haram.
The 50-year-old priest was murdered at a farm, during what the chancellor of the diocese defined as a “raid by terrorists.”
On Sunday, June 26, Father Christopher Odia was murdered after being kidnapped from the Diocese of Auchi, Edo State, in the southern region of Nigeria. He had been abducted on his way to Sunday Mass at St. Michael Catholic Church Ikabigdo.
He was 41 and ordained a priest in 2012.
According to Open Doors International, an NGO that tracks Christian persecution globally, in much of northern Nigeria, Christians live under the constant threat of attack from Boko Haram, the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), Fulani herdsmen, and other criminals who kidnap and murder at will.
While all citizens of northern Nigeria are subject to threats and violence, Christians are often specifically targeted because of their faith — ISWAP and Boko Haram want to eliminate the Christian presence in Nigeria.