Philippines: kidnapped priest 'in good health'

 The Italian missionary, Fr Giuseppe Pierantoni, who was kidnapped on the island of Mindanao last October, is well, missionary news services reported yesterday. The bishop of Pagadian, Zacharias Jimenez, said that he had heard from 'trustworthy sources' that Fr Beppe was in good health. In January, photographs had been sent to the diocese showing the priest with a beard. Latest reports say that he has shaved it off. The bishop said he hoped this indicated that he could be getting ready to be freed. Bishop Zacharias said that a number of people were involved in negotiations for the priest's release. Fr Beppe, a Sacred Heart (Dehonian) missionary, was snatched by a group of armed men on 17 October shortly after he had finished celebrating Mass. Initially there were grave concerns for his safety, as his kidnappers did make contact with the church for several weeks.