06/19/2018, 18.37
INDIA
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Indian Salesian saw horror in Yemen, calls for prayers for peace

by Nirmala Carvalho

Fr George Muttathuparambil is the Salesian provincial superior in Bangalore, Karnataka. In 2016 he was in Yemen when an Islamist group took Fr Tom Uzhunnalil, killing four sisters of Mother Teresa. “This is an unjust war,” he says. “Innocent people are suffering horribly.”

Mumbai (AsiaNews) – Fr George Muttathuparambil, a Salesian from India and provincial superior in Bangalore, Karnataka, saw the horror of war in Yemen. For this reason, people must pray for peace, he told AsiaNews.

He responded to appeals for peace in Yemen made by Pope Francis last Sunday during the Angelus, and Mgr Paul Hinder, apostolic vicar of southern Arabia (United Arab Emirates, Oman and Yemen), yesterday.

"What people are going through is unimaginable. On 23 June we will offer Mass and Eucharistic adoration in solidarity [with the population]. Together with my community, I will fill Heaven [with prayers] for peace in Yemen."

Fr Muttathuparambil knows Yemen well. He served in the Arab country between 2010 and 2016, where the Missionaries of Charity ran four parishes in Sana'a, Taiz, Hoddai and Aden.

He was in the church in Taiz when on 4 March 2016, as the country’s war escalated, an Islamist group kidnapped Fr Tom Uzhunnalil, his confrere (who was released in September 2017), killing the four Sisters of Mother Teresa in a seniors’ home in Aden.

Of that tragic day, "Sister Sally (the only survivor of the massacre) phoned me. She was crying, saying that the bodies of the four missionaries were lying in the compound, whilst Fr Tom was missing.”

"At that point I immediately called Mgr Hinder, the Mother House in Kolkata and the Salesian Provincial House in Bangalore and informed them of what had happened. Later someone told me that Fr Tom had been taken away."

In view of the country’s insecurity, Fr Muttathuparambil left the mission on 30 March, 2016, and returned to India where he is still waiting to return to serve the Yemeni people.

"Innocent people are suffering horribly. This is an unjust war. Let us pray to God that he may intervene and bring justice and peace. The situation is truly serious, people need food, water, medicine. Everything has been destroyed."

According to the latest estimates, the conflict has killed more than 10,000 people with another 250,000 at risk.

“We join Mgr Hinder in prayer. He is very worried about the region and about the Christians who live in the four parishes."

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