Health Care

Fr Tom Uzhunnalil thanks Indian Govt for rescuing him

Fr Tom Uzhunnalil thanks Indian Govt for rescuing him

On Wednesday L'Osservatore Romano published a picture (shown above) of Fr Tom receiving a personal blessing from Pope Francis. After his release, Father Uzhunnalil arrived in Rome on Tuesday evening September 12. Singh said the priest, who is now in the Vatican, would have to decide on the time of his return to India.

Upon meeting the Pope, Fr. Uzhunnalil went down on his knees kissing the feet of the Holy Father in profound reverence.

Nearly immediately after news of the attack and Fr. Uzhunnalil's abduction made news around the world, Pope Francis appealed for the release of the priest, mentioning his name during his Easter sermons on April 4th, 2016. Visibly moved by the gesture, the Pope helped him up and kissed his hands, the Vatican newspaper said.

She said: 'We had never given up hope that one day father Tom would be released.The sisters, the poor and the people have been praying daily for his release.

Born in Ramapuram, in Kerala state, Father Uzhunnalil belongs to the Bangalore Salesian province.

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Fr Tom was kidnapped in March 2016 when gunmen destroyed a care home he was serving at run by nuns in the capital Aden. He had been working for more than four years as a chaplain at the care home.

Father Uzhunnalil thanked the pope, telling him that "he prayed every day for him, offering his suffering for his mission and the good of the church".

Recalling his time in captivity, the Salesian told the Pope that although he was unable to celebrate Mass, "every day, I would repeat to myself, in my heart, all the words of the celebration".

Sister Mary Prema, Superior General of the Missionaries of Charity, the order to which the murdered nuns belonged, issued a statement saying: 'I am overwhelmed with this good news. Since then, other than a few videos released from time-to-time, there has been no news of Uzhunnallil's whereabouts. The Vatican released a statement saying: "the Holy See Fervently thanks all those who worked for his release".

Accompanying Fr. Uzhunnalil was Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay and a member of the Pope's Council of Cardinal advisers.

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Uzhunnalil's message from his experience is that "Jesus is great and loves us".

"Truly, every day, I felt Jesus close to me", Fr Uzhunnalil said. "I always knew and felt in my heart that I was not alone." .

The priest said that he was not tortured or mistreated during captivity, but said that life under IS was still "full of challenges".

Fr. Uzhunnalil was born and brought up in a devout Catholic family.

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