Priest-Survivor of Kidnapping Thanks Pope

LORETO, Italy, SEPT. 2, 2007 ( Father Giancarlo Bossi, the Italian missionary who was kidnapped for 39 days in the Philippines, was in Loreto with Benedict XVI to express his gratitude for having survived his ordeal.

The Pope spoke of Father Bossi during his address to the youth gathered in Loreto. “In [Father Bossi] I would like to greet and thank all those who spend their existence for Christ on the frontiers of evangelization,” he said.

For his part, Father Bossi, 57, said to the Pope, “Holy Father, I am happy to be with you this evening to give my thanks: to God for having once again lovingly kept my life in his hands; to you for having carried me in your father’s heart while I was being held hostage; to all these young people because with their prayer and their love they gave me the courage to remain faithful to Christ, to his Church, to my missionary vocation, and to the people to whom I belong.”

Father Bossi was taken hostage June 10 and held for more than five weeks. He plans to return to the Philippines to continue his missionary service.