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» 07/25/2007
PHILIPPINES – ITALY
Great celebrations in Payao for Father Bossi’s return
by Santosh Digal
Joyful Christians and Muslims come together to welcome PIME missionary home. Freed priest celebrates mass in his parish church, thanks all those who prayed for him during his captivity.

Zamboanga (AsiaNews) – Deeply moved by the occasion Christians and Muslims welcomed Fr Giancarlo Bossi back to Payao. The Italian missionary who was held captive for 39 days concelebrated mass with Italian and Filipino priest in St Paul’s Parish Church in Payao, festively decorated for the homecoming event.

Bossi arrived in Payao at 8:45 am where he was initially welcomed by high school and elementary students. The meeting was charged with emotions for the PIME missionary who wanted to greet the faithful who “prayed so much” during his days of captivity “for my release.”

“The activities were intended not only as a welcome for Bossi but also as a celebration of the good relations between the people and local religious groups like Muslims, Christians and Subanen,” said Joenery Ojas, Payao police chief.

When Bossi was kidnapped the entire community came together to pray for him. There was a strong sense of fraternity and collaboration and this has to be reasserted with the grand welcome for the PIME priest, he said.

Police sources confirmed that the kidnappers were members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and that no ransom was paid. They also acknowledged that kidnappers were forced to release the Italian priest because of "unconventional tactics" used by the authorities during negotiations.

Some reports suggest that the police threatened to abduct the family members of the kidnap gang's leader.

When he arrived in Payalo Father Giancarlo was surrounded by his people, exchanging warm greetings and hugs.

At the end of the mass, celebrations moved to food-covered tables, especially spaghetti (Father Giancarlo’s favourite food) and the traditional ‘lechon’, a whole roasted pig.

A parade and peace symposium were also organised to celebrate the return of ‘Father Giant’ or ‘Bigfoot’ as locals affectionately call him.

Bossi reiterated his desire to continue his missionary work in the Philippines, possibly in Payao “among my people” because “that’s the call I am supposed to do, and I am really happy to do this job.”

However, Fr Giancarlo Zanchi, PIME superior general, said that whilst Fr Bossi will certainly be back in Mindanao it is not certain that it will be in Payao.

What is more, PIME is against Father Bossi testifying against his kidnappers as requested by the Filipino Department of Justice.

Fr Gianni Sandalo said that the institute is keeping to the same position held when Fr Luciano Benedetti was abducted in 1998.

He said Benedetti later decided not to pursue the case against his capturers, “because according to Luciano, his capturers were young people, and at that age, they did not know what they were doing.”

Father Sandalo said that his kidnappers were poor fishermen “just following orders from big people and at any [rate], we don't really have [any] idea as to who [was] the mastermind behind his kidnapping.” Now the matter is in the hands of the government.

Religious and intellectual leaders in Zamboanga have made a public appeal for peace and sobriety, including the Archbishop of Zamboanga Romulo G. Valles, Fr Angelo Calvo, Fr Sebastiano D’Ambra, Arsenio L Gonzales Jr and Fr Antonio Moreno SJ.

Whilst expressing happiness for Father Bossi’s release, they expressed their concerns with his abduction and the killing of marines involved in his search, sharing “the grief of the bereaved families”.

Given the situation of great instability in the Basilian area, they urged the “public to remain calm and exercise utmost sobriety so as not to aggravate the situation.”

They dream that pace can be based on a real process of economic and social development.


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See also
06/10/2007 PHILIPPINES
PIME missionary, Fr Giancarlo Bossi, abducted in Mindanao
06/28/2007 PHILIPPINES
Mindanao: non-stop prayers and continued hope for Father Bossi
06/18/2007 PHILIPPINES
Mindanao: Father Bossi well according to first contacts
06/10/2007 PHILIPPINES
Father Bossi’s kidnappers probably MILF fighters
by Santosh Digal
07/16/2007 PHILIPPINES
Mediation for Father Bossi’s release continues
ITALY - PHILIPPINES
PIME gives “thanks” on its anniversary for Fr. Bossi’s release
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
PHILIPPINES – ITALY
Fr. Bossi: “I will return among my people”
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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