A priest in the northeastern Brazilian state of Paraiba was found dead in his rectory Thursday morning, with signs of having been stabbed, according to police. The body of Fr. Pedro Gomes Bezerra, who was to have turned 50 at the end of this month, was discovered Aug. 24 in Borborema, about 20 miles northwest of Guarabira. His body was found wrapped in sheets in his residence, which was in shambles.
According to the local press the investigation found some 29 punctures on his body. The priest's car was not in the garage, but there were no signs of the house having been broken into. “Even though we are in mourning, let us stand united in prayer, professing our faith in the resurrection of the dead. And may the Lord grant eternal rest to Fr. Pedro Gomes,” read a statement from the Diocese of Guarabira, of which Fr. Bezerra was a priest.
The priest's neighbors reported they did not notice any strange movements in the house. The police were notified by the parish secretary, who was surprised to see the doors closed when she came to work. The Chief of Police of the Civil Police, Joao Alves, told Portal MaisPB an investigation of the crime will be initiated.
Fr. Bezerra's death is being mourned by the city of Borborema and by Belem, where he worked from 1999 to 2007. Belem's mayor declared three days of mourning and recalled that Fr. Bezerra had left “an importance legacy of faith and social works, such as the Good Shepherd Shelter.” “We pray to God to comfort his relatives, friends, and the Diocese of Guarabira in this moment of grief and of irreparable loss,” she said.
Fr. Pedro is being buried in Guarabira on Friday.