06/28/2007, 00.00
PHILIPPINES
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Mindanao: non-stop prayers and continued hope for Father Bossi

One of Father Bossi’s fellow missionaries talks about the moving mobilisation, which includes prayer campaigns and messages of solidarity.

Zamboanga (AsiaNews) – The Mindanao group of islands has witnessed an “incredible and moving mobilisation across the region with prayers and messages of solidarity and hope” for the release of Fr Giancarlo Bossi, a missionary from the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME) who was kidnapped in Payao on June 10, this according to Fr Luciano Benedetti, one of Father Bossi’s fellow priests, who spoke to AsiaNews.

“In Zamboanga, Ipil, Payao, but also in Manila and in other cities across the country, there are prayer vigils every day. People are praying for Giancarlo’s release and are showing their love for him and the missionaries who live in the Philippines,” he said.

The same response has come from the rest of the Church.  The archdiocese of Zamboanga has condemned in no uncertain terms the abduction. In a statement signed by Mgr Romulo Valles, it called on the kidnappers to “reflect upon what they did and undo it.”

Superiors from male and female religious institutes said that “greater emphasis should be on the prayer campaign for the release of the missionary”—the campaign itself was launched a few days after Father Bossi’s disappearance.

“We are praying non-stop that the kidnappers may have a change of heart,” said Sister Estela Castalone, executive secretary of the association that brings together the various institutes.

In the meantime, in the whirlwind of rumours and with regard to the missionary’s fate, PIME Fathers’ Filipino blog reports that the Lanao del Sur and Sibuguey Bay areas continue to attract the attention of the army and the Muslim separatist MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front), which are working together to find Father Bossi.

The negotiations have begun and it might be possible to send him food, drugs and a ‘tubaw,’ a cap, which he will probably need since he is being moved around on horseback under the hot sun.

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