A requiem Mass for the late Marianhill Missionary, Fr. Ernst Plöchl, who was killed by unknown people last Sunday at Maria Zell Cape province will be held on June 5 in his home town Neumarkt im Mühlkreis, Austria.
The third priest to be killed in South Africa this year, the 78 year old missionary had lived in the country for more than 40 years and ran a school with 400 students in Matatiele, a city in the south of the country. The circumstances around his death are still unclear. Local authorities had said that the missionary was killed by gun shot wounds but later claimed he was strangled.
Two other priests, Fr Daniel Matsela Mahula 34, from Klerksdorp Diocese, was killed by hitchhikers on February 27 while Fr Lionel Sham, the parish priest of Mohlakeng in Johannesburg Archdiocese, was killed on Saturday March 10 hours after being abducted from his home. He was 66.
Fr. Ernst Plöchl was born in Neumarkt im Mühlkreis, Austria and came to South Africa 40 years ago where he had strong ties and was admired for his commitment to the poor.
South Africa suffers one of the world's highest crime rates, with an average of 50 people meeting violent deaths every day.