Three Catholic priests have been murdered in one week: two in South Africa and one in Burundi.
Fr Lionel Sham, Parish Priest of Mohlakeng in Johannesburg Archdiocese, was killed on Saturday 7 March, after being abducted from his home in Mohlakeng.
A statement issued by Fr Chris Townsend, spokesman for the Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference, said: "The body of Fr Lionel Sham, 66 years old, has been recovered by the Police on Sunday, a few hours after the priest disappeared from his parish. Fr Lionel Sham was well known to be open to all and generous with people in the need."
"All we can do now is pray with the family, the parish of Mohlakeng and the many people who loved and knew Lionel" said Archbishop Buti Tlhagale of Johannesburg, shortly following the discovery of the priest's body. "I wish to express my own gratitude to the countless people who have looked for Fr Lionel and who have prayed for his safe return."
Fr Sham was the second Catholic priest to be murdered in one week in South Africa. Father Daniel Matsela Mahula, from Klerksdorp Diocese, was killed on 27 February while driving his car, by four hitch-hikers, near Bloemhof. Father Matsela was a young priest, born on 6 June 1975 and ordained to the Priesthood on 22 December 2002. He ministered at St Peter's Catholic Church in Jouberton at the time of his death.
On March 8, Fr Revocat Gahimbare was killed in Burundi. He had served as pastor of a parish in Karuzi. The priest was killed by four bandits dressed as policemen who had broken into the monastery of the Bene Maria Sisters. Fr Gahimbare, who had gone to defend the sisters, was shot dead by the intruders.