“Thought and prayer for our father Luigi Maccalli kidnapped eight months ago in Niger, is present in a special way among us.” This is what Fr. Ceferino Cainelli, Argentine priest of the Society of African Missions (SMA) working in Angola, said to Agenzia Fides.
The missionary is currently in Rome for the General Chapter of the SMA congregation. And he recounts: “A large photograph, with his smiling face, is in the room where we gather every day. While we wait with hope for his return among us, his testimony motivates us to continue with courage the mission entrusted to us by the Lord: to announce life and the union between peoples and cultures.
“The story of Gigi, as we call him in the family, also makes us aware of the challenges of the mission today in some countries of Africa, and elsewhere, and of the timeliness of the announcement of the Kingdom as a message of communion between the men and women of our time”.
The 21st general assembly of the SMA fathers brought together confreres from four continents as well as a representation of lay people. The missionary describes with emotion this “very intense moment of sharing, during which we look with particular attention to our life, on the continents where we carry out our missionary ministry, with particular attention to the evangelization of Africa and to people of African origin. We are gathered together to be able to plan for the future by taking on the mission with new enthusiasm and renewed hope.
“I thank the Lord because, in the diversity of cultures and stories, we are a family of joyful witnesses in a world where divisions and violence are accentuated more and more every day”, concludes Father Cainelli.”
Unfortunately, there is no news of Father Maccalli from Niger. Minister Burkinabé’s statement on the “return of Fr. Gigi in Niger ” had no follow-up.