Pope Francis and other Catholic bishops are praying for the release of Fr. Tom Uzhunnalil, an Indian priest thought to have been crucified by the Islamic State last month, in hope that radicals will be moved to change their ways.
"Dear brothers and sisters, in the hope given to us by the Risen Christ, I renew my appeal for the freeing of all kidnapped persons in armed conflict zones," the pope told the crowds in St. Peter's Square on Sunday at the Vatican.
"In particular, I wish to remember Salesian priest Tom Uzhunnalil, who was abducted in Aden, Yemen last March 4," he added. more >>
The brother of kidnapped Indian priest Father Thomas Uzhunnalil, who previously was believed to have been crucified by ISIS, has said that he is still unsure what happened to his brother, but is leaving everything in God's hands.
"I am waiting for clear good news. Until then, I will stay at home," 73-year-old Mathew Uzhunnalil told Catholic News Service in an interview published on Thursday.
"A lot of people are coming here (to the house) and even hold prayer meetings (for the safety of the priest)," he added. more >>
Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has said Catholic priest Tom Uzhunnalil, who was previously feared to have been crucified by the Islamic State on Good Friday, is alive, safe, and efforts are being organized for his release.
Catholic Bishops' Conference of India spokesman Father Gyanprakash Topno told the Press Trust of India that Swaraj met with CBCI delegates and told them that reports claiming Uzhunnalil has been killed are not true.
"Father Tom is safe and efforts are on for his release as early as possible," Topno said, conveying the minister's words, adding that the "government will facilitate the priest's safe return to India." more >>
A tutor in northern India allegedly killed his 11-year-old student for refusing to join the Islamic State terror group, according to the victim's family.
The victim, identified as Ravi Pal, a class 3 student from Kaserua Khurd village in Uttar Pradesh state's Allahabad district, was choked to death by his tutor, identified only as Irfan, according to Asia News International.
The student's father said Irfan was pressuring his son to join IS, also known as ISIS or ISIL, and killed him after the victim refused to do so. more >>
A group representing India's Christian minority recently issued a statement to a religious publication pleading for protection during Holy Week.
The Global Council of Indian Christians sent a statement to Fides News Agency declaring that "protection is necessary during Holy Week" in light of rising violence against Christian communities in the South Asian nation.
"The community fears an organized attack against Christian faithful and churches during Holy Week. As Christians, participating in the liturgies of the passion, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, we ask for protection and security for our defenseless community," stated the GCIC. more >>
A group of Hindu radicals in India's Chhattisgarh state reportedly attacked and beat 60 Christians worshiping at a Pentecostal church on Sunday, only a week after the Indian government denied visas to a U.S. Commission investigating religious freedom abuses in the country.
International Christian Concern reported that a mob of 25 Hindu radicals targeted a Pentecostal church in Kachana colony, where they stormed the house of worship on motorbikes, and began beating the 60 or so Christians that had gathered for Sunday worship.
Witnesses said that the radicals also beat and stripped Christian women, and destroyed various church property, including Bibles. more >>