(ANS – Berlin) – On the occasion of the Synod of Bishops on the Pan-Amazon region, still in progress at the Vatican, and because of the Extraordinary Missionary Month, the Salesians of Germany commemorate Fr Rudolf Lunkenbein, SDB, who, as an active missionary in Mato Grosso, Brazil, committed himself to giving his life for the rights of the Bororo indigenous people. He and the indigenous Simão Bororo were killed by white landowners in 1976.
Even after more than 40 years, the German Salesians stress the extreme timeliness of his commitment, why they have published a new publication on the life and works of Fr Lunkenbein entitled: “Er lebte, was er predigte. Fr. Rudolf Lunkenbein SDB: Ermordet – für die Rechte of the Indianers “(He lived what he preached. Fr Rudolf Lunkenbein SDB: Killed – for Indigenous Rights).
“Father Lunkenbein encourages us to be authentic and passionate evangelizers. The commitment to peace, justice and the preservation of Creation are indispensable today,” commented the Provincial of Germany, Fr Reinhard Gesing, SDB.
The author of the publication is Fr Josef Grünner, SDB, Head of the Salesian Mission Office in Bonn, who thus speaks of the Servant of God: “Fr Lunkenbein represents, in an extraordinary way, a new type of missionary, completely in line with the Second Vatican Council and with a profound understanding, in accordance with the spirit of Vatican II, of the world mission and evangelization. Surely, he would share the insistent exhortations of Pope Francis contained in Laudato Sì and would invite us to commit ourselves all with the utmost effort to the care of ‘our common home’.”
The testimony of Lunkenbein is still very much current even today, given the present situation in the Amazon region where the persevering destruction of the rainforest, due to economic interests, threatens the foundations for the very survival of indigenous peoples. Ecologists, natives and their allies often still pay for their commitment to the rights of indigenous peoples with their lives, as happened also to Fr Lunkenbein more than 40 years ago.