Beloved California priest, Father Francisco Blandón Meza, was killed earlier this week in his native country, after an irate husband host him twice for counseling the man’s ex-wife.
Eyner Salvador Maldonado Paguaga shot the priest in the abdomen and heart outside the Inmaculada Corazón de María parish in Jinotega, Nicaragua, on April 6.
Paguaga then shot his ex-wife, Sandy Hernández Marbely Mairena, before turning the weapon on himself. Hernández and the priest were chatting outside of the church’s rectory when they were shot.
Sandy’s family rejected rumours that the priest had a relationship with the young lady, and jealousy being the motive of the crime.
Reina Esmeralda Hernández, Sandy’s sister, said “he (the priest) was a very deal man of this town and cannot dirty him in this way”.
“I can’t take it anymore” Paguaga allegedly yelled in Spanish before pulling out a small gun and shooting Hernández and then the priest on the sidewalk.
“I loved his spirit and joy and his great love for people,” Father Gordon Kalil, Blandón Meza’s former pastor at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Napa, California, told the Napa Valley Register. “Everyone who met him loved him because of that. He had such a joy for life. This is just so tragic.”
Blandón Meza arrived at the California parish in 2008 and worked there until 2011, when he went to his native Nicaragua.
Upon returning to Nicaragua in 2011, Blandón Meza became the pastor of the church in the small town Wiwili, northeast of Managua.
In an official statement, Bishop of the Diocese of Jinotega, Monseños Carlos Enrique Herrera expressed his sadness for Blandón Meza’s murder.
“As a father and pastor of the pilgrim Church in the Diocese of Jinotega, I want to express, on behalf of the priests, religious and laity, our feeling of deep sorrow for the murder of our beloved priest Juan Francisco Blandon Meza,” the bishop said. “”We urge our members to pray for our dear father Blandon, remembering him as a charismatic, sociable, cheerful priest, who inspired young people to follow Jesus Christ; motivated many lay people to believe and fight for the respect of the human person’s dignity, the common good and solidarity towards others.”
Sources: La Jornada, Napa Valley Register, Fox News