Rome (AsiaNews) – They were on their way to say mass in a church in the suburbs, when they were kidnapped, yesterday afternoon around 4 pm. That is all that is known of father Pius Affas an elderly Syrian Catholic priest from Mosul and the young priest Mazen Ishoa, only just ordained, for whom Benedict XVI today launched an appeal following the recitation of the Angelus.
The two priests were on their way to say mass in the parish of Our Lady of Fatima in al-Faisaliya district, when they were taken. AsiaNews sources in Mosul say that until now there has been no claim of responsibility and recall that already their bishop Msgr. Basile George Casmoussa was kidnapped two years ago and later released.
Fr. Pius Affas, around 60 years old, was a fellow seminarian of Msgr. Casmoussa and a Bible studies professor at the seminary. He had been the director of the Arab language magazine “Christian thought” in the past. Fr. Mazen Ishoa is 35, and was newly ordained just a few months ago. He entered the seminary following his degree and on completion of military service.
Fears have risen in Mosul given that yesterday Ramadan ended for the Sunni Muslims, today for the Shiites. “It’s a delicate period because it is linked to sacrifice”. “So far – says a Catholic nun – Mosul has not been kind to Christians, but let us hope for the best”.