Rodolfo Lunkenbein was born on 1 April 1939 in Döringstadt, Germany. Reading some Salesian publications aroused in him the desire to be a missionary. He was sent to Brazil and did his practical training in the Meruri mission, where he stayed until 1965. He was ordained a priest in Germany on 29 June 1969, choosing as his motto: "I have come to serve and give my life." He returned to Meruri and was welcomed fondly by the Bororo people who gave him the name "Koge Ekureu" (Golden Fish). In 1972 he participated in the founding of the Missionary Indigenous Council (CIMI) and fought for the defence of indigenous reserves. On 15 July 1976 he was killed in the courtyard of the Salesian mission.
Simão Bororo was born in Meruri on 27 October 1937 and was baptized on 7 November. He was a member of the Bororo group that accompanied the Salesian missionaries in the first missionary residence among Xavantes, in the mission of St. Therese, (1957-58). He helped in the construction of the first brick houses for the Bororo families in Meruri (1962-64), becoming an expert mason and dedicating his life to this profession. He was mortally wounded in an attempt to defend the life of Fr Lunkenbein on 15 July 1976. Before his death he forgave his killers.
The priestly motto that Fr Lunkenbein had chosen for his ordination was: "I have come to serve and give my life." In his last visit to Germany in 1974, his mother begged him to be careful because she had been informed of the risks that her son ran. He answered, "Mom, why are you worried? There is nothing more beautiful than dying for the cause of God. This would be my dream."
With their sacrifice, Fr Lunkenbein and Simão Bororo have witnessed that there is Somebody among us who is stronger than evil, stronger than those who derive profit from the lives of the poor, those who crush others with their arrogance ... Martyrs do not live for themselves, do not fight to assert their own ideas, and they accept having to die only for their loyalty to the Gospel. One is amazed at the strength with which they have dealt with their trial. This strength is a sign of the great hope that animated them: the certain hope that nothing and no one could separate them from the love of God donated to us in Jesus Christ.
God of life and love, in union with all the martyrs of the Church,
we praise and thank you for the strength you have instilled in their hearts,
to sacrifice their lives by shedding their blood as your Son Jesus, the faithful witness.
He said to his disciples: "There is no greater love than to give one's life for his friends" (Jn 15:13).
Glorify your servants Father Rodolfo Lunkenbein and Simão Bororo
with the crown of martyrdom
They sacrificed their lives as proof of a greater love
and following Jesus radically,
they have remained faithful to the end!
Pour out your Holy Spirit on us too,
so that by their example we may walk the path of goodness and justice.
Grant us the grace we ask of you through their intercession. Amen!
Address to the Postulation
Via Marsala 42