Rome (Agenzia Fides) - "The release of Father Pier Luigi Maccalli is the most precious gift for World Mission Day which we will celebrate next Sunday, October 18". This is the first reaction of Fr. Antonio Porcellato, Superior General of the Society for Africa Missions, after the release of Father Pier Luigi Maccalli, who was kidnapped in Niger on September 17, 2018, and comments in a message sent to Fides: "The joy of our great family of the Society of African Missions is immense. Our gratitude to God is even greater. Our joy joins the joy of Maccalli’s family, of our confrere Fr. Walter, Pier Luigi’s brother and of the many people involved, who prayed with us and dedicated part of their lives to the thought of Father Pier Luigi, especially the entire Diocese of Crema, and the Archdiocese of Niamey".
Father Porcellato concludes by inviting everyone to think and pray "for other people who are still in the hands of their kidnappers. Let us pray for the numerous victims of this blind and senseless violence that affects the Sahel, and which has recently hit Burkina Faso again". The confreres are waiting for Fr. Gigi, freed together with Italian tourist Nicola Chiacchio and two other hostages, who should return to Italy by 10 October.
The Bishop of Niamey, in Niger, Msgr. Laurent Lompo expressed his joy in a message sent to Agenzia Fides: "We express an immense 'thank you' for this wonderful news. We are all happy to learn about the release of our brother Gigi. We talked a lot about him. We thank all those who helped free these hostages, the Italian authorities in Niamey and the government of Niger with whom, as a Church collaborated a lot in the process of Gigi's release. (AP) (Agenzia Fides, 9/10/2020)