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» 07/20/2007
PHILIPPINES – ITALY
Fr. Bossi: “I will return among my people”
by Santos Digal
The Italian missionary retraces the dramatic events of his sequester. He misses the warmth of his people and the affection “of the children” because his hart “is and will remain in Payao”. Messages of joy at the news of his release multiply.

Zamboanga (AsiaNews) – “I want to return to Payao to greet my people, tell them that I am well and above all embrace the children again.  My heart is and will remain in Payao.  They say that a priest must also be a father and so as the father of my community it is my duty to return to my people, to my children”. Fr Giancarlo Bossi dries his tears as he tells of the difficult days of his captivity: his abductors kept him under constant armed surveillance as they sought to evade strict police controls.  During his first press conference Fr. Bossi wore a simple black robe and spoke haltingly, deeply moved, about his period of sequester by abductors who claimed to “belong to the fundamentalist militants of Abu Sayyaf”.

Speaking alternatively in English and the local dialect, the Italian Missionary confirmed that the kidnappers “treated him well” despite moving constantly to evade military troops. He was fed rice and salt, dried fish.  “I had a problem with the food, that's the reason why I lost a lot of weight, 15kg. But never mind, I will have a chance to increase my weight again.” He confirmed that he was moved within Lanao, without clarifying if it was in the North or South of the province.  In order to keep up with his abductors he, a self confessed chain smoker, was forced to give up cigarettes: “One night while we were walking, we have to climb a mountain and my breathing was heavy: I told myself if I want to survive, I have to keep my breathing. Better stop smoking and I stopped smoking”.

Fr. Bossi says he is not afraid and adds that if his superiors “permit him” he will certainly “return to Payao: as soon as possible I will be among my people again”.  Answering a journalists question as to what he would like to do most now, he said “As a free man, I can enjoy life again” and “go around and meet people again, it was a very incredible experience”. He also recalled how he felt when told about the 14 Marines in Basilan who died when their unit was ambushed as they returned form a mission to check reported sightings of the Italian priest. “I felt so sorry,” Bossi said. “In a way, I feel responsible for their deaths.”

He said his typical day as a hostage was waking up in the morning at about 4:30 or 5 a.m., then moving out to arrive at their next bivouac at around 7 p.m. “and try to go to sleep.  During the day it was very difficult to sleep because in the forest “there are many mosquitoes”. All the while, he said, he was “just thinking, just praying, just thinking of all my friends and my family, what is going on, the mind always working just to keep me alive”. This morning he finally tasted a plate of pasta and was also given bread and a cup of coffee. At one point during the press conference, he tried to mention some of the names of his kidnappers but was cut off: the names would have to be kept confidential for the meantime as operations are being conducted against the priest's abductors. It has yet to be ascertained whether they belonged to Abu Sayyaf or the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), while the hypothesis of a ransom payment has been quashed.

In the meantime messages of joy at Fr Bossi’s release have multiplied.  The general secretary of the Italian Bishops Conference, Msgr. Giuseppe Betori, writes that “the Italian bishops express profound gratitude to all those who worked and prayed in these weeks of the release of Fr. Giancarlo.  In this moment of great relief, we are close to his family and his religious community, after weeks of worry and tension.  In this happy circumstance we would like to highlight the silent work of the many missionaries world over who – like Fr. Giancarlo, are witnesses to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, even at the risk of their own lives”.

Joy was also expressed by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), who in an official press statement thanks all those who collaborated in the missionary’s release.   “We welcome with joy and gratitude the release of the missionary, Fr. Giancarlo Bossi, by his abductors – writes CBCP president Archbishop Angel Lagdameo  of Jaro - for many weeks, in behalf of his relatives and community, many people prayed and appealed for mercy and compassion for Fr. Bossi,”. “Foreign missionaries are giving a great service to the people in far-flung corners of the country – continues the statement - especially in Mindanao, at great sacrifice and even dangers. We hope that what had happened to Fr. Bossi will not happen again”.

 


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See also
06/20/2007 PHILIPPINES
A blog to ask for the release of Fr. Giancarlo Bossi
07/06/2007 PHILIPPINES – ITALY
First photos of Fr Bossi show he is alive
07/20/2007 ITALY – PHILIPPINES
A great truth about Fr Bossi remains hidden; he is a missionary who witnesses Christ
by Piero Gheddo
06/12/2007 PHILIPPINES
Mindanao, the search for Fr. Bossi continues
09/23/2012 ITALY - PHILIPPINES
PIME missionary Fr. Giancarlo Bossi, former kidnapping victim in Philippines, has died
ITALY - PHILIPPINES
PIME gives “thanks” on its anniversary for Fr. Bossi’s release
PHILIPPINES – ITALY
Great celebrations in Payao for Father Bossi’s return
PHILIPPINES – ITALY
Father Bossi to be in Loreto with the Pope and young people to talk about his missionary experience
PHILIPPINES - ITALY
P. Bossi: “I would like to meet the Pope”
ITALY – PHILIPPINES
A great truth about Fr Bossi remains hidden; he is a missionary who witnesses Christ
ITALY - PHILIPPINES
Fr. Bossi: July 30 PIME celebrate a mass to give thanks
ITALY – PHILIPPINES
PIME thanks all those who contributed to the release of Fr. Bossi
PHILIPPINES – ITALY
Fr. Bossi: “They treated me well and I prayed for them”
PHILIPPINES
Fr. Bossi: “I am well, I want to return to bid farewell to my parishioners”
PHILIPPINES
Fr. Bossi 39 days in the hands of kidnappers
PHILIPPINES
An Islamic missionary murdered and hacked to pieces in Basilan
PHILIPPINES
Fr. Benedetti: we are awaiting “positive developments” for Fr. Bossi
PHILIPPINES
Mediation for Father Bossi’s release continues
PHILIPPINES
A petition for the release of Fr. Bossi
PHILIPPINES
PIME: free Fr Bossi and his captors too
ITALY – PHILIPPINES
Fr Zanchi: Fr Bossi continues his mission
PHILIPPINES
Mass for Father Bossi’s release celebrated in Zamboanga
VATICAN – PHILIPPINES
I think about Father Bossi every day, says Pope
PHILIPPINES
Doubts about Abu Sayyaf hand in abduction of Fr Bossi
PHILIPPINES
Search for Fr Bossi: between anticipation and hope
PHILIPPINES
No certainty about identity of Fr Bossi’s abductors as contact is awaited
PHILIPPINES – ITALY
First photos of Fr Bossi show he is alive
PHILIPPINES
Doing everything possible to free Fr Giancarlo Bossi, say Filipino bishops
PIME - PHILIPPINES
PIME: July 10, international day of prayer for Fr. Bossi
PHILIPPINES
MILF stage “strategic” retreat but search for Fr Bossi goes on
PHILIPPINES – ITALY
PIME press release about Fr Giancarlo Bossi
PHILIPPINES
PIME fathers appeal for Fr. Bossi release
PHILIPPINES
Mindanao: non-stop prayers and continued hope for Father Bossi
PHILIPPINES
No contacts with kidnappers, search for Fr Bossi starts again in Payao
PHILIPPINES
Fr. Bossi, “hypothesis” of new channels linked to civil society
PHILIPPINES
The search for Fr. Bossi restarts
PHILIPPINES
The search for Fr Bossi is halted, cooperation between MILF and the military dissolved
PHILIPPINES
PIME appeals for Father Bossi’s release
PHILIPPINES
Army announces Father Bossi sighted, PIME can’t confirm
PHILIPPINES
A blog to ask for the release of Fr. Giancarlo Bossi
PHILIPPINES
Fr. Bossi, witness that the Kingdom belongs to the meek
PHILIPPINES
Mindanao: Father Bossi well according to first contacts
ITALY – PHILIPPINES
Silent torchlight procession and candle-lit windows for Fr Bossi’s release
PHILIPPINES
The army blocks off an area in Mindanao, the Church prays for Fr. Bossi
PHILIPPINES
Mindanao, the search for Fr. Bossi continues
PHILIPPINES
Philippine Bishops appeal for the release of Fr. Bossi, Milf deny all involvement
VATICAN
Appeal of the Pope for those kidnapped throughout the world, including Catholic priests
PHILIPPINES
Fr. Bossi, “gentle giant” of the mission in Mindanao
PHILIPPINES
Westerners abducted in southern Philippines (an overview)
PHILIPPINES
Father Bossi’s kidnappers probably MILF fighters
PHILIPPINES
PIME missionary, Fr Giancarlo Bossi, abducted in Mindanao

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