06/18/2007, 00.00
PHILIPPINES

Mindanao: Father Bossi well according to first contacts

Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions regional superior confirms first verbal contacts with missionary’s still anonymous kidnappers. An 11-hour prayer Vigil was held yesterday in Ipil with witnesses by Christians and Muslims. In Payao, where Father Bossi worked, faithful of every creed pray 24 hours a day.

Zamboanga (AsiaNews) – The first contacts were made with Fr Giancarlo Bossi’s kidnappers after the missionary with the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME) was abducted on June 10 near his parish church in Payao. According to these sources, the priest is doing well. Fr Gianni Sandalo, PIME regional superior in the Philippines, confirmed the report to AsiaNews. “So far the contact by some anonymous group was verbal. Let us hope to have more news soon,” he added.

Father Sandalo is just back from Ipil, where a prayer vigil for Father Bossi’s release was held yesterday. The service, which began at 5 pm, ended at 4 am. “There were various witnesses by Catholics, Protestants and Muslims. It was very beautiful to hear these people talk about Father Bossi, especially those from his parish.”

In Payao a non-stop prayer for the clergyman’s release is underway with faithful from all religions. All places of worship are open 24 hours a day and filled with people taking turns praying for Father Bossi. Tomorrow a similar initiative will begin at 3 pm in Zamboanga, the provincial capital of the southern archipelago of Mindanao.

In the meantime search operations to find the kidnapped missionaries continue. An area of the archipelago has been isolated by army and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) units.

The guerrilla group offered to help secure Father Bossi’s release as soon as he disappeared.

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PIME missionary, Fr Giancarlo Bossi, abducted in Mindanao
10/06/2007
Father Bossi’s kidnappers probably MILF fighters
10/06/2007
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Showdown between government and MILF before peace deal
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Great celebrations in Payao for Father Bossi’s return
25/07/2007