'Free Him,' Pleads Family of Kidnapped Jesuit Priest in Syria

On 9-Month Anniversary of Kidnapping, Loved Ones Appeal for Continued Efforts

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The family members of Jesuit Father Paolo dall’Oglio, abducted in Syria, on July 29, 2013, have made an appeal to the global community.

«We call on those who have him to give Paolo the chance to return to his freedom and his loved ones, and we ask all institutions to continue to work on this,» they said, as reported by Ansa.it.

This appeal coincided with the nine-month anniversary of his abduction in Syria.

Jesuit Father Dall’Oglio, an Italian priest who for the past 30 years worked in Syria, was kidnapped by the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant, a militant rebel group that has ties to Al-Qaeda.

Pope Francis expressed his concern for his fellow Jesuit publicly. He said during his homily for the feast day of Saint Ignatius of Loyola that he was “thinking of our brother in Syria.»

The Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been following this crisis, reported Avvenire. Sources close to the negotiations allegedly «in progress» stated that contacts in Syria, at various levels, and abroad have been working for the release of the 59-year-old priest, believed to be alive.

Father Dall’Oglio engaged in Christian-Muslim dialogue, notably through the monastic community he founded north of Damascus. The priest was expelled in June 2012 after taking a position in favor of the peace plan of Kofi Annan, the UN special envoy. He was vocal against government repression and re-entered the north of Syria last summer.  (D.C.L.)

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