ROME –– On the eve of the first anniversary of the presumed kidnapping of an Italian Jesuit in Syria, his family posted a video on YouTube pleading for news about his whereabouts.
“We would like to once again hold him in our arms; however, we also are prepared to mourn for him,” said the message released by the family of Jesuit Father Paolo Dall’Oglio, who was last heard from July 29, 2013, in northern Syria.
Archbishop Mario Zenari, the Vatican nuncio to Syria, told Vatican Radio July 28 that, “Unfortunately, there is still no concrete, certain and trustworthy element” to help the church, the Italian government, the Jesuits or his family know whether he is still being held or was killed.
“I, too, would like to make a heartfelt appeal to those responsible for his kidnapping,” the archbishop said. “Have pity for the deep pain of his family and all those who knew and held him in esteem; give us news about his fate.”
Archbishop Zenari said his appeal also goes to those who kidnapped two Orthodox bishops, an Orthodox priest and a Catholic priest – all of whom are still missing.
In their video, the Dall’Oglio family also remembered the other victims of kidnapping in Syria. On the anniversary of the Jesuit’s disappearance, they said, “Many of us will be praying for him and standing by him, as we will be doing for those who have been kidnapped, unjustly detained, and for the many who are suffering because of this war.”
Fr. Dall’Oglio had been based in Syria for 30 years, and since 1982 had been restoring an ancient monastery in the desert and forming a religious community dedicated to Christian-Muslim dialogue and harmony.
The family’s video can be found at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3MMoCGrggE.