AFRICA/NIGER - Fr. Gigi Maccalli: finally at home, but always with his heart turned to his mission in Bomoanga

Monday, 12 October 2020 kidnappings   violence   missionary institutes   mission   evangelization  


Niamey (Agenzia Fides) - Father Gigi Maccalli, released after two years of imprisonment in the hands of Islamist kidnappers, returned to Madignano for a periodo of rest and quarantine with his family. One of the first people with whom the Missionary of the Society for Africa Missions got in touch was his confrere Vito Girotto, with whom he worked until September 17, 2018 in the mission in Niger, where he was abducted.
"On Saturday I spoke to Father Gigi for about ten minutes", said Father Vito. "He called me and immediately asked me what the situation was like in his mission in Bomoanga. I replied that I saw a short video on WhatsAapp which showed how the villagers manifest the joy of the release and pray, sing and dance in church. I told him that from the moment he was kidnapped until he was released, many prayed so that he would soon return to freedom".
"I also had to tell him the less pleasant news, such as the closure of the Catholic primary school in N'Goula, the suspension of the literacy program in the entire Gurmancé region and my forced departure from Makalondi the night after his kidnapping, and I had to tell him the difficulties faced by the diocesan priest in reaching the missions we left due to a lack of security".
When Father Girotto asked about how he experienced this time of imprisonment, Father Gigi replied: "praying". His kidnappers, he said, treated him well. They allowed him to listen to the radio since last May, and tuning in to Vatican Radio, the first thing he heard was the recognition of the heroic virtues of Mgr. De Brésillac, the founder of the Society for Africa Missions.
"During our conversation", continues Father Vito, "I was much more excited than him. He told me he would do his quarantine in Madignano. I sent him the greetings from many friends who had asked me in Niger, Burkina, Burundi and Ghana to do so on their behalf. After all, I talked a lot more than he did because I had the feeling that he wanted to know everything that had happened after his abduction in Bomoanga and in the diocese of Niamey".
In conclusion, the missionary said that he was deeply happy and comforted by this phone call that he had been waiting for since Sunday, September 16, 2018, when they last spoke. (VG/AP) (Agenzia Fides, 12/10/2020 Agenzia Fides)