Father Tom Uzhunnalil, the priest who was kidnapped in 2016 and held captive for 18 months by terrorists in Yemen, said that his ability to persevere “was thanks to the prayers of everyone” who interceded for him. The government of Oman and the Holy See had worked for the priest’s release. He was freed Sept. 12, 2017.
As reported by Crux, “Prayer is the best thing that God has given us and can obtain everything,” he told ACI Prensa, a Spanish news agency. “Surrendered to the Lord’s will, during my captivity I prayed to the Lord that they would release me soon, but I also asked him to give me the grace to complete the mission that he had planned for me.” In an interview with ACI Prensa the priest recalled the experience he went through in Yemen. “The churches in Yemen had been attacked and vandalized, but in the days prior to my kidnapping the situation had stabilized somewhat,” he said. In the 18 months he was held captive, Uzhunnalil relied upon prayer for perseverance. “Every day, I prayed the Angelus; three or four Rosaries; an Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be for the sisters who died; the Chaplet of Divine Mercy; I meditated on the Way of the Cross; and I celebrated Holy Mass spiritually – I didn’t have any bread or wine but I said the prayers from memory,” he said.
After his release on September 12, 2017, he met with Pope Francis, a moment that was “tremendously emotional.” Uzhunnalil encouraged all Christians who are suffering persecution today to be steadfast in prayer and in faith in God. The priest currently lives in Bangalore, India, since Yemen is still at war. However, he assures that he is ready to go back to the country “if that’s God’s will.”