Search for Italian Father Luciano Ciciarelli, veteran missionary, finds no trace
An Italian missionary priest who traveled to Medjugorje at the end of July has been missing for almost two weeks.
Father Luciano Ciciarelli, 79, a Rome-based priest of the Montfort order, left his personal belongings, laptop and passport in his hotel room in the Bosnian town where apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary have been reported.
The priest, who for more than half a century has engaged in missionary work around the world, arrived on July 28 for a spiritual gathering in conjunction with the 26th International Youth Prayer Festival.
According to the Italian newspaper Il Centro, Jurica Ostojic, owner of the guesthouse where Father Ciciarelli was renting a room, reported his disappearance to the local police Aug. 2.
The interior ministry of the Hercegovina-Neretva Canton initiated a search, which involved mountain rescue dogs, but no trace was found of the priest.
Originally from Civitella Casanova, Father Ciciarelli was born July 2, 1936, and was ordained a priest in Loreto in 1961. He studied at the College of Montfort, and in 1966, he was sent to Peru, where he spent 33 years, preaching along the coast, in the Amazon rainforest and Andean highlands, often on foot or on the backs of mules and llamas. He had to learn different languages, including Quechua. He founded six institutions in Peru, two in Paraguay, and one in Mexico for mothers suffering from violence, abandonment and illness. He also directed centers for drug-addicted youth and founded a center for AIDS patients.
Since 1999, he has promoted Marian spirituality according to the writings of St. Louis Marie Grignon de Montfort, in an association called Consecratio Mundi. The association was founded by another Montfort priest, Kosovo-born Father Luka Cirimotic.