Pope Blesses Former Captive Fr. Tom Uzhunnalil

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

Fr Thomas meets the Pope

Fr Thomas meets the Pope © L'Osservatore Romano

Salesian Fr. Tom Uzhunnalil received a personal blessing from Pope Francis on September 13, 2017. He was freed September 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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