AFRICA/NIGER - A missionary: "I am leaving Niger, but not Father Maccalli: the mission continues with the mark of the cross"

Saturday, 13 June 2020 kidnapping   violence   missionaries   mission   missionary institutes  

Bomoanga (Agenzia Fides) - "I am definitely leaving Niger, but in times of coronavirus it is difficult to travel; and I carry in my heart a wealth of memories made up of questions and absences, such as that of Father Gigi Maccalli, but also of hopes", this is what Father Vito Girotto, priest of the Society for African Missions writes to Agenzia Fides, a confrere of father Pierluigi Maccalli, kidnapped from the Bomoanga mission 21 months ago. "Who knows of my next departure from this country, where I carried out my mission together with Fr. Gigi, asks me the question: 'Why are you leaving when Fr. Pier Luigi is still a prisoner in Africa?’. Some ask me to wait until our father is released, in order to have a big party and then leave together. Let us continue to pray: God is great and we entrust ourselves to him".
The missionary, on the eve of his departure from Niger, describes the faces of people, images of the 10 years spent in this country of the Sahel, projects carried out together, planning meetings for many pastoral and humanitarian activities, feasts lived together in joy and in collaboration with Fr. Gigi Maccalli: "Now the mission is on the cross, and the cross that stood on the hill of Bomoanga, removed from the pedestal (see Fides, 28/5/2020) and therefore now no longer visible to those who were used to seeing it from afar, reminds me of my friend and confrere, who is carrying a heavy and hidden cross, due to the violence suffered, in the Sahara desert".
Fr. Girotto adds: "The seeds of the Gospel always find good soil, where brambles and thorns cannot prevent them from sprouting and bearing fruit, even if the sower is far away. He is always close with the constancy and the hope that the sweat of his work and of his trial will not be lost. Today we can say that the kidnapping that took place twenty one months ago is not a defeat: the seal of the mission that continues with the mark of the cross. And the cross of the mission is always victorious, despite appearances and human beliefs. The prayer that Gigi is making, together with ours and that of many friends around the world, gives us hope and joy to see him soon and free, now that we know he is alive", he concludes. (VG/AP) (Agenzia Fides, 13/6/2020)