March 4, 2017, marked one year since the abduction of Fr. Tom Uzhunnalil SDB who was serving in Yemen. Ever since the tragic abduction the Salesian province of Bangalore to which Fr. Tom belongs and the family of Fr. Tom have been seeking assistance from authorities at different levels to intervene and facilitate his safety and quick release. The government of India, the Catholic Church, The Church in India under CBCI, the government of Kerala, the government of UAE, the media and the general public have all been making efforts in different ways for the release and safe return of Fr. Tom.
The Salesian Province of Bangalore in collaboration with KCBC (Kerala Catholic Bishop’s Council) organized a Prayer Meeting for Fr. Tom at 5 pm on 4 March at Town Hall, Ernakulam. The programme commenced with a short prayer service followed by a public meeting. Prominent Ecclesiastical and Political leaders addressed the gathering. Archbishop Soosai Pakiam, President of KCBC, Cardinal Cleemis, CBCI President, Cardinal Alanchery, Major Archbishop of Syro-Malabar Church, Most Rev. Joseph Kalathiparambil, Archbishop of Verapoly, Rev. Fr. Joyce Thonikuzhiyil Provincial of Salesian Province of Bangalore, Prof. K.V Thomas MP, Sri. Jose K. Mani MP, Sri. Hiby Eden MLA, Sri. P. T. Thomas MLA, Sri. John Fernandez MLA and several other dignitaries attended the function and spoke on the occasion. A large gathering of people participated in the prayer meeting showing solidarity towards the efforts to get the speedy release of Fr. Tom.
A Memorandum to be sent to the Honourable Prime Minister and the External Affairs Minister of India was passed by the assembly. The signatures of hundreds of students studying in the various Don Bosco schools and colleges for the quick release of Fr. Tom were presented to Prof. K. V. Thomas to be handed over to the Prime Minister.