Fr. Thomas Uzhunnalil- held captive for 557- speaks at St. Vincent Pallotti Church in Bangalore, India
On March 4, 2016, Fr. Thomas Uzhunnalil- a priest hailing from Kerala, India- was captured by terrorists when working for a home for the aged with the Missionaries of Charity in Yemen. Exactly two years later, he celebrated Mass at St. Vincent Pallotti Church in Bangalore, India, a part of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Province. 10 Pallottine priests and one decaon were alongside him.
Uzhunnalil was somehow spared in Yemen attack, which killed 4 Missionary sisters and 12 others. He was held in captivity for 557 days, kept alive by asking God to spiritually grace him with bread and wine as he peacefully celebrated the Eucharist by memory.
He shared his harrowing experience during the sermon, which many members of the UAC community were blessed to hear first-hand. Member Leena James said that he “emphasized on how God protected him from the terrorist, and that the terrorists never tortured him.” Though he witnessed first-hand the martyrdom of his fellow sisters, he never had “nightmares about the incident because he knew that they were in Heaven with God.” And while he was praying for the very mercy of their souls, so too did he ask “god to have mercy on the terrorists”.
Teresa Kattukaran, vice-president of the Local Coordination Council, also seconded his testimony as a true force of “the boundless mercy of God. It emphasized the immense power of prayer; for hundreds of thousands of people had been praying for his safety and release during all those 557 days he was in custody.”
St. Vincent Pallotti Church, under the care of parish priest Fr. Manohar Noronha, partakes unceasing ministry activities and acts of charity in the spirit of our founder. Members of their UAC group meet weekly to promote these works of charity, whether it be administering Communion to the sick or medicine and food to the poor.
Its community as a parish is thriving, with the Church filled each evening, and celebrates Mass in 6 different languages on Sundays. Their activities are a testimony that it is through our missionary actions infused by the Holy Spirit that allow the heart of our Pallottine family to beat.
The administration of the Province of the Assumption of the BVM is currently entrusted to Fr. Pedro Camilo, Provincial, as well as Councilors Fr. Arockiasamy Santhiago, Fr. Victor Prasanna Martis, Fr. Sahaya Anand Clement, Fr. Joji Reddy, and Mission Secretariat Fr. Manuel Raj.
The province is home to 6 schools, all of which continue to grow and thrive due to the passion and dedication of the Pallottine Fathers and Sisters.
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