Celebrating the Church In Africa Cross Platform Access Mc.Rufus Interactive Coat Of Many Colours Africa
Pope Francis appoints new Archbishop for Accra | Pope signs joint statement on Human Fraternity | UGANDA: Pope Appoints New Apostolic Nuncio | GHANA: Election Related Violence Threatens Democracy, Bishops Say

Church in Niger remembers kidnapped Italian missionary during Christmas season
The Crux

YAOUNDÉ, Cameroon, Dec.20, 2018 - In the build-up to Christmas, Christians in the African nation of Niger are thinking of Father Pier Luigi Maccalli, who was kidnapped on Sep. 17.

The Italian missionary was taken from Bomoanga parish, located about 75 miles from the capital, Niamey. It is suspected he may have been taken to the neighboring country of Burkina Faso.

According to a church spokesperson, about eight men arrived on motorbikes, broke into his house opposite the church and forced him to go with them. Church officials said he was targeted: Other protentional victims, including another priest and several nuns, were ignored.

Reports said the priest had gained enemies after promoting the end of the practice of female genital mutilation.

Four months after, Archbishop Djalwana Laurent Lompo of Niamey says the priest is still alive.

Father Désiré Salako, the Benin-Niger district head for the Society of African Missions (SMA) told Fides, a Vatican-affiliated missionary news agency that Lompo can’t reveal details due to “security reasons” but “he asked us to believe that he speaks in sincerity and truth.

Maccalli is a member of the Society of African Missions.

Salako visited the society’s provincial house in Genoa, Italy, three weeks ago to meet with members of the kidnapped priest’s family.

“We asked him many questions and we all hope soon to see Father Gigi well and safe and in good health. Father Salako assured us that no one has forgotten Father Gigi, and all are working in different ways to obtain his release. He passed on to us a message from the archbishop of Niamey, confirming that Father Gigi is well,” said Father Marco Prada.

Prada told Fides the main concern of the Niger authorities and also of the Italian embassy in Niamey, is the safety of Maccalli, 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 Father 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,” Prada said.

Maccalli’s brother Walter is also an SMA missionary, serving in Liberia.

“Every day a prayer is held at Radio Maria Liberia for the release of my brother, Father Gigi Maccalli,” the priest said.

Prada said the priests of the order are studying Maccalli’s writings ahead of the Christmas celebrations.

“Through some writings of Father Gigi himself, all of us, his SMA confreres, keep hope alive,” he said.

During Christmas 2017 - the last the kidnapped priests celebrated with his community - Maccalli urged his brothers to not give up hope.

“Life is a network of two threads: joys and sorrows,” he wrote.

“Only the shepherds heard the angels sing in the sky on Christmas night; but many heard the broken sorrow of the women of Bethlehem who mourned the innocent saints. Christmas among tears of joy and sorrow, which merge together in a single embrace, in the river of life. So it is on a mission: An intertwining of experiences and strong emotions that tell the beauty of human adventure, which even God wanted to share and embrace…. but we do not abandon the hope that one day the desert will flourish!”

During an earlier Christmas - in 2013 - the Italian missionary reflected on the dire situation of those blighted by starvation and conflict in Niger.

“In the evening, in my mission, I often look at the sky. Today I understand why there are so many bright stars: they are the stars of the innocent. In Niger alone, malnutrition has already caused the death of more than 2,500 children between the month of January and September this year. We must also remember the news of last October: The macabre discovery of 92 bodies of migrants found at about ten kilometers from the border with Algeria. The truck that carried them broke down in the Nigerian desert. The victims were 7 men, 37 women and 48 children,” he wrote.

Niger for years has fought extremist groups linked to both al-Qaida and the Islamic State organization. Recently it has experienced a rise in kidnappings with ransom demands.

In April, a German humanitarian worker with the international NGO Help, Jörg Lande, was taken in Niger’s northwest.

On October 4, 2017, suspected jihadists laid an ambush on an American military convoy that resulted in the deaths of four members of American special forces, as well as four soldiers from Niger.

This Edition

Front Page

Message Of His Holiness Pope Francis For Lent 2019

Dear Brothers and Sisters
Each year, through Mother Church, God “gives us this joyful season when we prepare to celebrate the paschal mystery with mind and heart renewed… as we recall the great events that gave us new life in Christ” ...

Cover Choice

Ash Wednesday in the Catholic Church

In the Roman Catholic Church, Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent, the season of preparation for the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday.
Our Faith

Finding everyday holiness in Lent »

Beginning with Sunday Mass, there are countless ways to get in touch with the Church's spirit of Lent.

More Articles: Our Faith

Catholic Living

The History of Lent »

What are the origins of Lent? Did the Church always have this time before Easter? Lent is a special time of prayer, penance, sacrifice and good works in preparation of the celebration of Easter.

More Articles: Living

Winning Family

Think Mercy! Show Mercy! »

The theme of the Jubilee year as pronounced by Pope Francis was Mercy. To appreciate the theme, one needs to think through the reason why God Almighty, The Omnipotent will send His only Begotten Son to the land of man – The earth.

Faith & Business

4 Ways To Optimise Your Lent Using Business Techniques »

Catholic tradition sets aside the 40 days prior to Easter as a period of prayer, penance, and repentance. I typically head into Lent like most Catholics do, having chosen a couple of sacrifices that will fulfil my obligations and remind me of the reason for the season. This year I chose to do something different.

Young & Catholic

Spiritual Development for our Youth »

Most of us youth in today's fast moving world are easily thrown off by difficulties and worries.
Some of us use it as an excuse to turn their backs on God and stay away from the Church. They often wonder why they should have to go through all what they are experiencing if God truly loves and cares for them.

Tonic For The Soul

What Can I Do Before Lent Begins? »

Anything worth doing is worth preparing for.
Just imagine that this Lent is going to be different from every other Lent we've experienced. Imagine that there will be many graces offered us this year...

More Tonic For The Soul

Saint Of The Month

St. Joseph »
Feast Day: March 19, May 1
Patron Saint Of: Universal Church
Everything we know about the husband of Mary and the foster father of Jesus comes from Scripture and that has seemed too little for those who made up legends about him.

Videos Of The Month

Steve Ray "Are You Born Again? A Catholic Response"»

Steve Ray speaks about "Are You Born Again? A Catholic Response" at the Defending the Faith Conference in Steubenville, Ohio.

Pope Francis in the United Arab Emirates»

A look at Pope Francis' remarks during an interreligious gathering in Abu Dhabi.

Connect with us:

Image 1 Image 1

Image 1 Image 1

Mc.Rufus Interactive Social Clique...Your Social Media Partners!

Copyright © 2002-2019 THE BEACON INTERNATIONAL CATHOLIC MAGAZINE. All rights reserved.
another mc.rufus interactive web design