LIMA, Peru (CNS) — A Spanish Jesuit priest who was found murdered in the boarding school where he lived was buried Aug. 12 in Chiriaco, in the Apostolic Vicariate of Jaen in Peru’s northern Amazon region.
Mourners carried Father Carlos Riudavets’ coffin through the streets of Chiriaco and jammed the small community’s simple church for the funeral Mass.
A cook found Father Riudavets’ body Aug. 10 at the Jesuit residence on the grounds of Valentin Salegui School, part of the Jesuits’ Faith and Joy school network. The 73-year-old priest had been bound and the body showed signs of violence, according to a statement from Peru’s Jesuit community.
Father Riudavets, a native of San Lucar de Guadiana in Spain’s Huelva province, had worked in Peru’s Amazon region since 1980, serving as a teacher and later principal of the school. Although retired, he continued to live and assist there.
The school, in the community of Yamakai-entsa, serves about 270 Awajun and Wampis indigenous students from villages along five rivers in the region. No students were there at the time of the murder because the school was closed for mid-year vacation.
The priest “was a man who always had his feet on the ground,” Bishop Alfredo Vizcarra Mori of Jaen told Catholic News Service. “Many people considered him like their father, because he had worked with so many generations.
Peruvian media reported that police wanted to question a former student who had been expelled from the school, but the bishop said the circumstances of the murder are still unclear and the Jesuit community is awaiting the results of the police investigation.
“We would like to reiterate our commitment to building peace, justice and reconciliation as the mission of the Society of Jesus,” the Jesuits’ statement said.
The Regional Organization of Indigenous Peoples of the Northern Amazon of Peru, which represents indigenous communities in the five watersheds served by the school, issued a statement expressing condolences for death of Father Riudavets, whom it called “exemplary.”
The organization also urged the residents of communities in the region to cooperate with the police investigation.
Help us keep you informed -- CatholicPhilly.com can't do it with youDuring CatholicPhilly.com's fall donation campaign, you have a way to help us deliver the kind of news you need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live. Every household's costs keep rising, and we're no different. We make sure your dollars in any amount go a long way toward continuing our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month. Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can -- a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Or by credit card here: