It was on 4th March 2016 that armed terrorists entered the Home for the Destitute in Aden, Yemen, run by the Mother Teresa Sisters and shot dead four sisters of Charity and twelve employees. They abducted Fr. Tom Uzhunnalil SDB, belonging to the Province of Bangalore who was serving the spiritual needs of the sisters, while he was praying in the Chapel of the sisters after the Holy Mass. The Province of Bangalore together with the family of Fr. Tom, the Catholic Church authorities and many other organizations and people have been making all-out efforts to get his speedy release. While praying incessantly for Fr. Tom’s release the Province has been continuously in touch with the State and Central Governments appealing to intervene and ensure his safety and quick release. Now, one year and five months has passed and the painful fact is that Fr. Tom still continues to be in the custody of the abductors undergoing trauma and distress.
In order to know from the government of India the latest information regarding the situation of Fr. Tom and the progress made in the efforts to get him released Fr. Joyce Thonikuzhilyil, the Provincial, Fr. Jose Koyickal, the Vice Provincial, Fr. George M.K. and Fr. Jose Mathew, Provincial of New Delhi accompanied by Fr. David from CBCI met Ms. Sushma Swaraj, Honourable External Affairs Minister of India on17th August 2017 at 12.30 pm in the Head Quarters of the External Affairs Ministry in New Delhi.
The meeting was very cordial and warm. Ms. Sushma Swaraj said that she feels with Fr. Tom who is facing unimaginable trauma and suffering for several months. The Government of India and personally in her responsibility as the Minister of External Affairs it is one of the top priorities to see to the safety and release of Fr. Tom at the earliest. All efforts are made with utmost urgency by the Government of India and help is sought from governments, organizations, and people who could assist in this process. She reiterated that Fr. Tom is alive and safe for sure and it is the strong hope of the Government that he could be released soon. The delegation handed over the letter of appeal highlighting its concerns to the Minister and expressed hope that the sincere efforts taken by the Government will make the release of Fr. Tom faster.
The Province of Bangalore is immensely grateful to Rt. Rev. Theodore Mascarenhas, the Secretary General of CBCI who arranged this meeting with Ms. Sushma Swaraj and has been relentlessly following up the process for the release of Fr. Tom on behalf of the Catholic Church.

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