Fr. Pier Luigi Maccalli, SMA missionary kidnapped on September 17, 2018, is alive and well. The news was given by Mgr. Djalwana Laurent Lompo, Bishop of Niamey, a territory in which lies the mission of the kidnapped priest.
For security reasons the source of this information was not disclosed but the Bishop asked the faithful to believe he was sincere and saying the truth.
Fr. Désiré Salako was the first to have news of the kidnapping of Fr. Gigi, and since then as his friend and confrere and as SMA Superior, has followed closely the evolution of the event, keeping contact with the Niger authorities on behalf of the SMA.
A few days ago the Superior General visited the kidnapped missioner’s family in Cremona and told them he was hopeful to see Fr Gigi well and safe and in good health, in a short time. He assured the family that many persons are working in different ways to secure his release and asked for more prayers.
The main concern of the Niger authorities and the Italian embassy in Niger, is the safety of Fr. Gigi, and that no action taken may endanger his life. “We all hope that this event will have a successful ending without useless violence. This is why”, said Fr. Desiré, “we must have patience. Time passes and apparent silence and lack of news must not be interpreted as inactivity. On the contrary, it is a fruitful atmosphere for the sides to have contact with discretion and reciprocal trust.”
The Superior General expressed gratitude for prayers offered in many parts of Italy and in other countries for the release of Fr. Gigi and others held prisoners in the country. “Let us pray for peace and harmony in Niger, for the serenity of the small Christian flock in that country. Let us continue to pray with insistence, perseverance and trust keeping alive the flame of attention and affection for Fr. Gigi”, says Fr. Prada.
He exhorted prayers for the kidnappers: “Jesus said Christians dare to pray for their enemies because they believe that God can change hearts and infuse sentiments of humanity and justice.