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Burglars Attack Filipino Priest in Papua New Guinea

Fr. Manny Lapaz was among the seven clergymen who were seriously hurt from the assault.

A Filipino priest had been rushed to the hospital following an assault by 15 intruders at a priests’ residence in Papua New Guinea.

Fr. Manny Lapaz, a Vincentian priest, was among the seven clergymen who were seriously hurt from the incident. One priest was stabbed in the chest, barely missing his heart, while a young local cleric was also left with a swollen face from numerous punches.

On Monday, March 19, Tommy Bakers’ gang members forced their way into the priests’ home and attacked residents. (Read: Pope Francis Expresses Grief Over Brutal Attacks in West Africa)

Shortly after, the inruders took personal belongings such as laptops, mobile phones, cash, and other valuables they could find. The new outboard engine and solar panels that the priests use in remote mission areas were also taken.

Nuns visit Vincentian Fr. Manny Lapaz at a hospital where he was confined for several days in Papua New Guinea’s Alotau Town. (Photo from Catholic Professionals PNG/CBCPNews)

‘Differences Should Be Settled Peacefully’

According to Bishop Rolando Santos, also a Filipino Vincentian priest, Fr. Lapaz and the other priests were seriously injured from the incident. “[He] lost a lot of blood after receiving continuous bashing on the head,” the bishop said.

Good thing, Fr. Lapaz is now recovering and was already discharged from the hospital after several days of confinement. However, all the priests who witnessed the incident were left traumatized by the attack.

“We are very much saddened and decry the violence and loss of property that happened in Alotau Town,” said Bishop Santos. (Read: Bishops in Myanmar Urge Military to End Violence, Start Dialogue)

He then appealed for dialogue to restore peace and order in the area. “Differences should be settled peacefully and due respect is given to the rights and dignity of every person,” the bishop declared.

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