Jesuit Father Frans van der Lugt

Jesuit, who used YouTube to appeal for help for Homs, reportedly killed

by Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service  |  published on April 7, 2014


ROME (CNS) — A 75-year-old Dutch Jesuit who refused to leave war-torn Syria, instead staying in Homs to help the poor and homeless, was beaten by armed men and killed with two bullets to the head, according to an email sent by the Jesuits’ Middle East province to the Jesuit headquarters in Rome.

Jesuit Father Frans van der Lugt, who had worked in Syria since 1966, declined suggestions to leave because he wanted to help Syria’s suffering civilians — “Christians and Muslims — anyone in need,” said Father Giuseppe Bellucci, head of the Jesuits’ press office.

The email, reporting that armed men had taken Father Van der Lugt, beaten him and then shot him dead in front of the Jesuit residence in Homs, was sent to the Jesuit headquarters April 7, Father Bellucci said. “That’s all the information we have right now.”

Father Van der Lugt became known around the world after appealing for aid for the people of the besieged city of Homs in a video posted on YouTube in late January.

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