Father Tom Uzhunnalil Photo/Facebook

Pope urges kidnappers to release captives, including Salesian in Yemen

By  Carol Glatz , Catholic News Service
  • April 11, 2016

VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis appealed for the release of all people being held captive in the world's battle zones, including Salesian Father Thomas Uzhunnalil, who was abducted in Yemen.

"I renew my appeal for the liberation of all people kidnapped in areas of armed conflict," the Pope said after praying the "Regina Coeli" with pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square April 10.

"In particular, I want to remember Salesian Father Tom Uzhunnalil, abducted in Aden in Yemen March 4," the Pope said.

Uzhunnalil was kidnapped from a home for the aged and disabled run by the Missionaries of Charity in Aden. Four Missionaries of Charity and 12 others were murdered in the attack.

Born in Kerala, India, the 56-year-old priest had been serving in Yemen for the past four years as a chaplain to the sisters. 

When the situation in Yemen began to deteriorate, two of the five Salesians, including Uzhunnalil, decided to stay in the country along with a handful of other Catholics despite the risks to their safety, Salesian Father Francesco Cereda, vicar of the order's superior, told AsiaNews March 10. 

The Salesians, he said, have been present in Yemen since 1987 and were the only priests working in the Muslim-majority nation. 

"We understood that if everyone left, we would have been deprived of the only organized Catholic presence in Yemen," Cereda had said in March.

The Holy See, the Indian government, India's Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Salesian community were all working to secure the priest's release, he said.

Comments (0)

There are no comments posted here yet

Leave your comments

  1. Posting comment as a guest. Sign up or login to your account.
Attachments (0 / 3)
Share Your Location
Type the text presented in the image below

Support The Catholic Register

Unlike many other news websites, The Catholic Register has never charged readers for access to the news and information on our site. We want to keep our award-winning journalism as widely available as possible. But we need your help.

For more than 125 years, The Register has been a trusted source of faith based journalism. By making even a small donation you help ensure our future as an important voice in the Catholic Church. If you support the mission of Catholic journalism, please donate today. Thank you.