Meeting Fr. Uzhunnalil special experience: Cardinal Gracias

Cardinal Oswald Gracias met Fr. Uzhunnalil in Rome soon after his Islamic abductors released him.

Cardinal Oswald Gracias
Vatican city: 

Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Bombay has described his meeting with Fr. Thomas Uzhunnalil in Rome as “a special experience”.

“I would say that he’s come out of it with an experience of the presence of the Lord,” the Cardinal spoke about the priest, who spent 18 months as a captive of the Islamic State in Yemen.

“I was afraid that he would come out a broken man, but no…It’s a moment of grace, a moment of faith, a special experience," the cardinal said n an interview with CNA.

The high point was when he told the Holy Father, ‘just tell everybody that Jesus is great, Jesus is great.’ Just three simple words. That was like the sum of his whole experience,” said Cardinal Gracias who spent an hour with Fr Uzhunnalil before he met the Pope.

“He’s not really stressed in any way you can make out. Physically weak, but spiritually strong.”

“I met the Holy Father later that afternoon, and he was telling me how impressed he was. He was also surprised with the calmness of the man, with Tom…He was a man who is perhaps strengthened in the faith after this experience, and not bitter about anything. Particularly about his captors, he was very understanding. It was a special experience, very edifying,” the Cardinal added.

Cardinal Gracias said Fr Uzhunnalil needed rest and appreciated the Omani government’s role as well as their decision to bring him over to the Vatican.

“I think it was better for him, because I think if he had gone to India he would have been mobbed by everybody. He just needs space to recover… I think it was a wise decision, but I think it was a decision more of the Omani government.”

On asked about the Vatican’s role in working out Fr Uzhunnalil’s release, the Cardinal said any information the Holy See had, they shared it with the Indian government, the Omani government. “In Yemen, the political situation is very fragile, and one doesn’t know who is in charge. The Vatican made sure there was interest.”

Cardinal Gracias, who was in Rome last week for the meeting of the Council of Cardinal advisers tasked with reforming the Roman Curia, said their work is nearing completion. He also spoke about the Pope’s upcoming trip to Myanmar and Bangladesh, and that he would accompany the Pope to both places as president of the Asian Bishops Conference.

On a possible papal trip to India, Cardinal Gracias said he is certain that Pope Francis would visit India. “We’re working it out, and I’m very hopeful. He would like to come and we would like to have him, and the government would like to have him. But now we must see his program, the government’s program, but I’m certain he will come. There are no details at all for the moment.”

Source: Catholic World report

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