Hopes high that kidnapped priest is alive

An Indian priest abducted by gunmen in Yemen two months ago is still alive, according to the Vicar General of the Salesian order, of which he is a member.

Fr Francesco Cereda said it is important to “continue paying attention” to the circumstances of Fr Tom Uzhunnalil and “keep communication channels open”, without fuelling “false hopes”, and repeated the claim by Msgr Paul Hinder, Apostolic Vicar of Southern Arabia, that “he is still alive”. As such, he said, it is important to “nurture hope through prayer”.

Fr Uzhunnalil was kidnapped on March 4 during an attack by a jihadi group, probably linked to so-called Islamic State, on a home for the sick and elderly run by the Missionaries of Charity in Aden. Sixteen people in the facility, including four religious sisters, were killed in the attack.

Explaining that “Msgr Hinder is in charge of the diplomatic activity work”, Fr Cereda said, “our contribution is through prayers and remembrance”.


Interfaith conference planned in Pakistan

Pakistan’s Peace Centre and the United Religions Initiative have organised an interfaith conference for over 100 Christian, Muslim, Hindu and Sikh religious leaders, scholars, human rights activitists, social workers, college and university professors and students.

The May 15 conference, under the theme of “Symphony of Peace Prayers”, was organised in the aftermath of the Easter Sunday bomb attacks at a Lahore park in which 75 were killed and more than 300 injured.

Fr James Channan OP, director of the Peace Centre, described Pakistan as “a country in grave need of interfaith harmony and Christian-Muslim dialogue”.