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Thursday, December 8, 2016
Missionary kidnapped in Philippines
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¬†A Dehonian missionary has been kidnapped in the Philippines. Fr Giuseppe (Beppe) Pierantoni, 44, from Verona in Italy, who works at Our Lady of Fatima's church in Dimataling on Mindanao island, was abducted at 6.45pm on Wednesday by a group of around 15 armed men, shortly after he had finished celebrating Mass. Fr Beppe had begun to cook his evening meal, when two armed men broke into the parish house and took him away. A parishioner said a group then took him down to the sea, put him onto a motorboat and set out to sea. Fr Beppe has worked in the parish for two years with Fr. Janusz Burzawa from Poland. His colleagues suspect he was kidnapped by the Islamic Abu Sayyaf rebel group, which has ties with the terrorist organisation of Osama Bin Laden. Dehonian (Sacred Heart of Jesus) priests have been present on Mindanao Island since 1989 with five parishes, run by two Italians, three Polish, two Brazilians, one British and six Indonesians. In a letter to the kidnappers yesterday, Fr Jerry Sheehy, superior of the Dehonians in the Philippines, said: "We are very sad and worried about the situation of our brother priest ≠ and we plead with those who have taken him to please release him unharmed as quickly as possible. We are calling on the goodness of your humanity. By your actions ≠ you are bringing pain to many people, not least his mother, father and sister who are in Italy. You are bringing shame on the Filipino people, both Muslim and Christian, who are known for their kindness and hospitality towards foreigners. Fr Beppe has never harmed anyone - so we cannot understand why you have done this to him. We do not know why you have kidnapped a priest, especially as the Church in the Philippines and particularly in Pagadian has been very active in seeking peace and justice for all members of society, whatever their religion or tribe."
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