By: Matters India Reporter
Kochi: Hundreds of people on September 12 attended a special Mass in St Mary’s Cathedral in Kochi to thank God for the release of an Indian Salesian priest held in captivity in Yemen.
Father Tom Uzhunnalil was released earlier in the day 18 months after Islamic fundamentalists abducted him from Yemen.
The news was announced by the Oman government that had played a crucial role along with the Vatican in the release.
In India, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj used twitter to express her happiness at the priest’s release.
In Kochi, Cardinal Alencherry, who led the Mass said that prayers by millions across the world had helped in the release of Fr. Uzhunnalil from captivity.
Churches in Kerala have conducted special prayers for the past several months for Father Uzhunnalil’s release.
After the Mass, Cardinal Alencherry, who heads the Syro-Malabar Church to which Fr. Uzhunnalil belongs, thanked the Vatican and the Indian government for the efforts to release him.
Archbishop Joseph Kalathiparambil of Varapuzha too expressed joy and gratitude to all those who prayed for the 58-year-old priest’s release.
The Latin rite prelate said that the Vatican had intervened at the diplomatic level to secure his release.
Archbishop Kalathiparambil thanked the governments of Yemen and Oman for aiding the release. He also noted with gratitude the support given by Swaraj and the Kerala government.