Niamey (Agenzia Fides) - August 17th will be eleven months since that evening of September 17, 2018 when the life of Father Gigi Maccalli, of the Society for African Missions, changed and was kidnapped in Bomoanga (see Fides, 18/9/2018). "It was certainly not the first kidnapping we heard of, but it was the first that touched us so closely. It seemed impossible. That day the news of his abduction was repeated in all the newscasts, which we followed hoping always in some more details", say two of the missionary’s friends to Agenzia Fides.
"This is how these eleven months of waiting, of silence, of hope and of prayer began. A prayer that involved all those who in these years, and for different reasons, came into contact with Father Gigi, sharing with him the enthusiasm for the mission, getting involved in projects in favor of the people (water, health, school, and much more), creating bonds", they explain.
"What sustains our hope and our trust is this red thread of prayer that, every day, personally and once a week at a community level, binds us and ceaselessly intercedes for the liberation of our dear friend", the two friends add. "We are sure that he prays for us, too".
"We met him shortly before being ordained, during a visit to Walter, his seminarian confrere in Genoa. He was already in love with Africa. A love for the reaffirmed mission, we can say, in every letter, in every speech. Three years later, on the eve of his perpetual oath, he wrote to us from Bondoukou: "My perpetual oath within the SMA community is a commitment to fidelity and consecration to the mission and to these Churches of Africa at the service to the poor. I have come to serve and this remains the horizon of my priestly vocation".
"Perhaps, he never thought, always so full of initiatives, to come to be, as he is today, a "contemplative" missionary. Because this is how we see Father Gigi's mission today: a prayerful mission, a mission that continues, albeit in a different way and which, unbeknownst to him, will bear fruit. "(PRV/AP) (Agenzia Fides, 12/8/2019)