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Canadian priest murdered at his Jamaica parish

Former managing editor of major R.C. paper

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

ANNOTTO BAY, Jamaica - A Canadian Jesuit priest, the son of Dutch immigrant parents of Park-hill, Ontario, was recently murdered at his parish church on the impoverished east coast of Jamaica. Reverend M. Royackers was 41 at the time of his death.

Royackers had been gunned down as he locked the church but was not found until the next morning. He is the second priest in Jamaica to die violently this year. Royackers and a colleague earlier had received a threat over a parcel of land they tried to obtain for poor local farmers.

Locally a much respected clergyman, Royackers was known as a tireless worker, and one who would speak his mind although he also was described as a shy person. ‘Parishioners think the sun rises and falls on Father Martin,’ according to another Canadian working at the parish.

Royackers volunteered to work in Jamaica after serving several years as managing editor of Compass, a major Roman Catholic publication in North America. In 1978, after graduating from high school he entered the Jesuit seminary. He obtained a masters degree in social science at the University of Chicago.