By Catholic News Service

GUATEMALA CITY – Oblate Father Lawrence Rosebaugh, a U.S. priest with a long history of taking risks to aid the poor, was killed in a highway robbery in Guatemala May 18.

A Congolese Oblate priest in the vehicle with him was wounded by the bullet that killed Father Rosebaugh, but is expected to recover. According to Guatemalan newspapers, two other Oblate priests traveling with them were uninjured.

Father Rosebaugh, who turned 74 two days before his death, was remembered by friends for his sunny, cheerful disposition and his life of extreme simplicity. One fellow U.S. Oblate, Father Seamus Finn, said it was ironic that his friend who once bicycled from Brazil to the United States and rarely set foot in a car had been killed in one.

A funeral Mass was celebrated May 20 in Guatemala City, where Father Rosebaugh had served with the Oblate mission since 1993.

Born in Appleton, Wis., Father Rosebaugh focused his ministries on the poor and marginalized in the United States and Latin America. He served as a missionary in Brazil and a volunteer in El Salvador.

While in Brazil in the 1970s he helped expose abuses by the Brazilian military dictatorship. In 1977 he personally delivered a letter to then-first lady Rosalynn Carter detailing his discoveries, helping bring attention to the abuses of the Brazilian government.