Indian Catholic News

Politicians honor Father Uzhunnalil in Kerala capital

Father Uzhunnalil also called on Governor of Kerala P. Sathasivam


Communist leader and Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan was among a host of politicians at a public felicitation accorded to Father Thomas Uzhunnalil, who was released last month from captivity in Yemen.

“Society must guard against faith and spirituality giving way to communalism and extremism,” Vijayan said speaking at the Oct. 3 program.

He also thanked the Sultanate of Oman and the Vatican for playing “instrumental roles” in ensuring the safe return of the Salesian priest from Yemen.

Former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said the priest will be known for his selfless service to the needy in a country that “stared at an uncertain future” and had no government or diplomatic missions.

P.V. Suhaib Moulavi, the Imam of the state capital’s prominent Palayam Masjid, said that terrorism has no religion or faith. Such activities were only intended to cater to the imperialist and political interests of a very few.

Replying for the felicitations, Fr. Uzhunnalil said that religious harmony remained the greatest asset of India. “Even as I was known to be a Catholic priest, several people, cutting across religious divides, regarded me an Indian brother and prayed for my safety,” he said.

Cardinal Mar Baselios Cleemis, Major Archbishop-Catholicos of the Syro-Malankara Church, delivered the introductory address. Mar Thoma Church Thiruvananthapuram diocese bishop Joseph Mar Barnabas Episcopa, Sree Narayana Dharma Sanghom Trust general secretary Swami Sandrananda, Thiruvananthapuram Latin Archdiocese Auxiliary Bishop R. Christudas and Provincial of the Salesian Province of Bengaluru Joyce Thonikuzhiyil also spoke on the occasion.

Earlier Father Uzhunnalil called on Governor of Kerala P. Sathasivam at the Raj Bhavan and expressed his gratitude for the latter’s intervention in ensuring his release.

The relatives of Fr. Uzhunnalil had, along with the former Chief Minister, Oommen Chandy, met the Governor on May 31 and submitted an appeal seeking his intervention for the release of the priest. The Governor had immediately forwarded the petition to the Union Minister for External Affairs, Sushma Swaraj.

Source: Hindu

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