MALI: Abducted Italian Missionary Meets Pope Francis in Rome

VATICAN CITY, NOVEMBER 10, 2020 (CISA)-Pope Francis on Monday November 9 received in audience Fr Pierluigi Macalli, an Italian Priest and member of the Society of African Missions who was freed by abductors on October 8 in Mali after two years in seizure.

“I was moved, I told the Pope what I went through and entrusted to his prayers especially the communities I visited and that have been without a priest or a missionary for over 2 years,” Fr Macalli spoke after meeting the Pope.

Fr Macalli was abducted on the evening of September 17, 2018 from his workstation in at the Catholic Mission in Bomoanga within the Catholic diocese of Niamey, Niger Republic, at the border with the Burkina Faso.

While recalling events of his abduction by suspected jihadist militants he asked Pope Francis to “remember the Church in Niger in his prayers.”

“To find myself in front of him was truly an emotion and a feeling of great gratitude. I never thought that a missionary who goes to the peripheries of the world could one day find himself before the Pope himself, the leader of the universal Church,” he told Vatican News after the audience.

On October 18 during Angelus prayer on Mission Sunday, Pope Francis asked for an applause from congregants at St Peter’s Square when he announced news on the release of Fr Macalli by the abductors.

“We supported you but you supported the Church,” Pope Francis told the Italian Missionary.

“I now feel an even greater urge to be a witness of peace, brotherhood and forgiveness, today and always,” said Fr Macalli.

Fr Pierluigi Macalli was abducted in Niger and released in Mali alongside three others: a French humanitarian worker, an Italian tourist and a politician from Mali.