Salesian missionary shot dead in Nepal

 Catholics in Nepal and in India are mourning the death of Salesian Fr Lutto Johnson Moyalan, a 60 year old missionary from India shot and mortally wounded on Tuesday by gunmen in the Nepalese town of Sirsia, 15 km from the Indian border. The local Salesian community said the gunmen broke into the Salesian mission complex during the night, forcing the gate keeper to take them to the priests' house. Assistant priest Fr Mathew Puthuppallil, tried to go for help but was stopped. The men went into the room of Fr. Johnson Moyalan, shot him and ran off about 15 minutes later. The local people came running and found the missionary mortally wounded. Police are not sure of the reason for the attack which looked like burglary or extortion. The Apostolic Prefect of Nepal, Bishop Anthony Sharma, said the attackers could have been Hindu extremists who operate in the area and have often threatened Christian and Muslim communities using theft as a cover up. The Apostolic Prefect issued a public statement expressing the grief of the Catholic community in Nepal. The Salesian news agency Ans said Fr. Johnson Moyalan was born in Ollur, Kerala, in 1948. He had been a Salesian since 1967, and served as parish priests in various places in the state of Andhra Pradesh. He went to Dharan in 1996, and in 2000 moved to a new Salesian mission in Sirsia, to assist the poor, run an elementary school and a parish. The funeral will be held in the Basilica of Bandel in Calcutta. Source: Fides

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