Living daylights beaten out of Christchurch priest

Priest attacked

A respected Christchurch Catholic priest was attacked on Good Friday.

Assailants jumped on Father Alister Castillo at about 1am when he tried to help an injured person in Fendalton.

“They just beat the living daylights out of me … I hope they recognise what they did was wrong,” he said.

Castillo, who serves at the Catholic Parish of Christchurch North, was on his way to Christchurch Hospital to carry out Chaplain duties when he spotted the person lying on the street.

He stopped to lend a helping hand, but instead of gratitude, he was viciously attacked by three unknown assailants.

The perpetrators fled the scene.

Among other damage, Castillo lost his glasses so couldn’t identify his attackers, but said their voices – demanding money he didn’t have – sounded like that of teenagers.

He has been off work since the attack – traumatised by the experience, a Catholic Diocese of Christchurch (CDC) spokesperson says.

The bloodied and bruised Catholic priest hopes what happened to him doesn’t stop others from doing good deeds.

He says he’s ready to move on, but his community is struggling to process how humanity’s “loving concern for each other” could be exploited for criminal gain.

“They just beat the living daylights out of me … I hope they recognise what they did was wrong,” Castillo says.

Reflecting on the incident, in an email to parishioners, Castillo said, “I’m recovering well and, despite all the ‘what ifs,’ I consider myself extremely lucky. I have no doubt that the Lord was protecting me.”

He urged the community to pray for the attackers, hoping that they would reflect on their actions.

Castillo is deeply grateful to everyone who offered their support and prayers during his recovery.

He hopes to return to his duties soon.

“From the bottom of my heart, I wish to thank you for your prayers and support over the last three weeks, and I hope to be back on deck next week (fingers crossed),” he said.

A police spokesperson says enquiries into the incident are ongoing.”


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