By: Smitha George
Kochi: The Syro-Malabar Church Synod led by Cardinal George Alencherry has urged the Indian government to intensify efforts for the safe release of Father Tom Uzhunnalil.
The Church in India and the country as a whole prayerfully waits for Fr Tom along with the Uzhunnalil family, the bishops’ conference said in an official press statement from the Syro Malabar Church headquarters in Kochi.
The Synod said that the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India had met External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to discuss the efforts being made for Fr Tom’s release. The prelates in their statement also urged the Indian government to provide the public with more information on the measures taken by the government .
The Synod called on the faithful to strengthen their prayers for the safe release of Fr Uzhunnalil.
Fr Tom Uzhunnalil, a Salesian priest was abducted on March 4, 2016, when militants barged into a care home set up by Mother Teresa in Yemen’s Aden and shot dead 16 people, including four nuns of the Missionaries of Charity.
Since then, besides a few videos, there has been no news of his whereabouts.
Indian officials have said the priest has been in the custody of the Islamic State terrorist group in Yemen, but despite efforts at various levels he is yet to be released.
The Syro Malabar Church Synod which began on Aug 21 at the Church headquarters at Mount St Thomas in Kakkanad, Kochi will end on September 1.