Rome (AsiaNews) -
Bossi, the PIME missionary (Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions), who in
2007 was kidnapped in Mindanao, died at 3am this morning in the Humanitas clinic
in Rozzano sul Naviglio (Milan).
For over a year he had struggled with lung cancer and his health had weakened more and more.
Fr. Bossi, the "gentle giant" for his friends given his athletic and stout stature, rose to notoriety in Italy and throughout the world when he was kidnapped by a group of Muslim militants in the Philippines, 10 June 2007. Moments of prayer and fasting as well as government pleas for his release spread all over Italy and the world. Pope Benedict XVI made an appeal to the kidnappers and prayed for him. On 19 July he was freed, thanks to the collaboration of the Italian and Philippine government.
He returned to Italy after his abduction, where he had the opportunity to meet Benedict XVI during a gathering between the Pope with the Italian youth in Loreto. Here he spoke about his almost 40 days with his captors, Muslims who had broken off from the MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front), whom he has always defended, saying that "they treated me well and I prayed for them ":" During the 40 days of my desert in the forest - he told the 300 thousand young people - I felt renewed. My prayer became more vital and fervent. My availability to God more incisive. When faced with great difficulty, then you really experience the tenderness of God "(cf. 01/09/2007 Father Bossi talks about God's tenderness during his days of captivity). Recalling his meeting with the pope, he speaks of the "thrill of a son who finds his father."
In January 2008, he returned to the Philippines and wanted to return to Payao (Mindanao), where he had been kidnapped, but the bishops stopped him and he settled in Paranaque (Manila) for a year, before moving on to a mission of in Western Mindoro.
Fr. Bossi was born in Abbiategrasso (Milan), 19 February 1950. Had entered PIME in Genoa in 1973, a late vocation. He took his perpetual vow on February 3, 1978 and was ordained a priest March 18, 1978 by Msgr. Aristide. Pirovano. Destined for the Philippines, he spent - with some short interludes in Italy - about 32 years in his adopted home.