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Special prayer service and candlelight vigil for Father Tom Uzhunnalil

Special prayer service and candlelight vigil for Father Tom Uzhunnalil

Thiruvananthapuram: Hundreds of people Saturday took part in the special prayer service and candlelight vigil at the St Marys Cathedral here for Father Tom Uzhunnalil, a Keralite priest who was kidnapped in war-torn Yemen last year by suspected Islamic State militants.

The prayers and vigil were held as per the call of CBCI President Cardinal Mar Baselios Cleemis Catholicos, the head of the Syro Malankara church.

Special prayers will be held tomorrow at all the churches under the dioceses, church sources said.

The 55-year-old Salesian priest, Fr Tom Uzhunnalil, who was abducted in March 2016, had in December last made an emotive plea in a video message to the Indian government and the Church for earnest efforts to free him.

The priest, who was abducted when IS fighters stormed the Old Peoples Home in the port city of Aden on March 4, had made a desperate prayer to the Indian President, Prime Minister as well as Pope Francis and the Christian community across the globe to work together for his release.

"If I were a European, I would have been taken more seriously by the authorities and people and (they) would have got me released.

"I am a priest from India and perhaps, therefore, I am not considered of much value.

"I am sad about this," he had said haltingly, pointing out that a French woman, reportedly kidnapped in the Yemeni city of Sanaa, had been freed.

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