After latest ordeal, says he knows the Virgin helped obtain his release
Fr. Maurizio Pallù, a missionary priest of the Diocese of Rome serving in Nigeria, was freed October 17 after having been kidnapped with two other people four days earlier. In an interview with Vatican Radio in Italian the following day, the priest stated that the Virgin Mary had played a role in their liberation.
A missionary member of a Catholic spiritual family called the Neocatechumenal Way, Fr. Pallù has been in Nigeria for three years.
Amazingly, this was the second time he has been kidnapped on the day of the feast of our Lady of Fatima, October 13.
Fr. Pallù had been kidnapped for the first time on that date in 2016, but only for a few hours. Both times the period of detention was relatively brief, he said, expressing his gratitude.
This time, the 63-year-old priest says he has received “confirmation that Our Lady and all the saints” got him out of this situation. “I was afraid, but I felt the support” of the Virgin, he said. The Lord “softened the heart of my captors,” he told Vatican Insider on October 18.
God has great plans for Nigeria, where the “demon is rampant,” he went on to say.
Fr. Pallù and the other two people accompanying him were abducted by a band of kidnappers as they drove to Benin City where the bishops of the country were going to celebrate the re-consecration of Nigeria to the Virgin Mary.
In a statement issued on October 18, the Diocese of Rome expressed “its joy and gratitude” to the Lord, and thanked Pope Francis for his prayers.
In a tweet posted on October 13, Greg Burke, director of the Holy See’s Press Office, announced that Pope Francis had been informed of the priest’s kidnapping, and was praying for him. AH