Kidnapped Twice, Missionary Priest Returns to Nigeria
After he was kidnapped twice in Nigeria in October, Italian missionary priest Fr. Maurizio Pallù has returned to the country, attributing his kidnapping to the work of the devil.
Pallù, 63, is a member of the Neocatechumenal Way. He has served as a missionary in Nigeria for three years. He and two companions were kidnapped in southern Nigeria Oct. 12.
According to Vatican Insider, the kidnapping was carried out by a group of armed criminals who robbed the priest and others while they were travelling from Calabar to Benin City by car. The three were released Oct. 17.
He was also kidnapped on Oct. 13, 2016 and released after just an hour and a half.
At the time of his kidnapping, Pallù said he thought about his life and he felt he was not ready to die. “I said to the Lord: I see that I don’t have enough repentance for my sins.”
“If you want me to die, give me the grace and the Holy Spirit to die as a real Christian and offer my life for these people who killed me,” he recounted, though he asked God to “save my life and I promise that I will continue to announce the Gospel with redoubled zeal.”
Pallù, a priest of the Diocese of Rome, has been in Italy since Oct. 18. During this time, he also had an audience with Pope Francis, who asked him, “when are you going back?”
Asked about returning to the country, and whether it was foolish idea, Pallù said he is not afraid of the devil, who has already been defeated “by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.”
“In Nigeria, now is the favorable moment,” the priest said, commenting on how the devil must be very afraid of losing souls to God if he has attacked them twice now through kidnappings. “I want to quote the words of the prophet and of the saint, John Paul II, who said Africa is the future of the Church,” he said.
Several other missionaries have also been kidnapped in Nigeria, and one has also been killed.