These powerful images from the Salesian News Agency show the Salesian Fr. Tom Uzhunnalil meeting Pope Francis today, following the General Audience.
Before offering him a blessing, the Holy Father bent to kiss the priest’s hand.
Meantime, my colleague John Burger has this news:
No ransom was paid to secure the release of Salesian Father Thomas Uzhunnalil, an Indian government official said Tuesday.
Father Uzhunnalil, a missionary priest, met with Pope Francis at the Vatican Wednesday, a day after being released from captivity. He was held for more than 18 months after his kidnapping in Yemen from a Salesian mission founded by his uncle, Father Matthew Uzhunnalil. The kidnapping was carried out in the midst of a brutal attack on a care home in the southern Yemeni port city of Aden, by a group of jihadist guerrillas. The attack left 16 people dead, including four sisters of the Missionaries of Charity who run the home.
Asked at a press conference on Wednesday if any ransom was paid for the release of the priest, V.K. Singh, a Union minister, or member of India’s cabinet, responded flatly, “No.”
There are more details about what led to his release at the link.
And Cindy Wooden from CNS this morning tweeted this detail of his captivity:
In 18 months of captivity, Fr Tom was unable to celebrate Mass, but everyday he reciting all the words silently, reports @oss_romano
— Cindy Wooden (@Cindy_Wooden) September 13, 2017