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Fr Tom lands in Oman (Oman Ministry of Information)

Fr Tom lands in Oman (Oman Ministry of Information)

Kindnapped Fr. Tom Uzhunnalil Is Rescued, Heads to Rome

Missionary Had Appealed to Pope Francis for Help During Captivity in Yemen

Salesian Fr. Tom Uzhunnalil was freed today, Sept. 12, 2017, after 18 months in captivity, after having been kidnapped in March 2016 in Yemen.

Following the news, the Vatican released a statement saying ‘the Holy See Fervently thanks all those who worked for his release,” and noting, “he will remain for a few days in a Salesian community in Rome before going home to India.”

On Twitter Tuesday, Minister Sushma Swaraj said without giving details that Tom Uzhunnalil had been rescued.

Father Tom was working as a chaplain at the home in southern Yemen established by Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity. In March of last year, he was abducted by militants when they attacked the home, claiming the lives of 16, including four nuns.

During his captivity, the missionary had appealed for the Holy Father and Church to help him, and the Holy Father had also appealed during his April 11, 2016 Angelus address for the priest’s release.


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About Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in 5 languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, at times from the papal flight (including for historic trips such as to Abu Dhabi and Japan & Thailand), and has done television and radio commentary, including for Vatican Radio, Sky, and BBC. She is a contributor to National Catholic Register, UK Catholic Herald, Our Sunday Visitor, Inside the Vatican, and other Catholic news outlets. She has also collaborated with the Vatican in various projects, including an internship at the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, and is a collaborator with NBC Universal, NBC News, Euronews, and EWTN. For 'The Other Francis': or

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