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New Custodian of the Holy Land

May 20, 2016. Friar Francesco Patton is the new Custodian of the Holy Land. He succeeds Fr. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, who was in office for the last 12 years. Friar Francesco Patton is 52 years old from Vigo Meano (Italy). He graduated in Communication Sciences from the Pontifical Salesian University of Rome and until now was the provincial minister of the Order of Friars Minor in Saint Vigilius of Trent.

One year later...still no news about kidnapped priest

2014-07-29

It's been a year now since Jesuit priest, Fr. Paolo Dall'Oglio was kidnapped in Syria. Still, there are no details on his whereabouts or his kidnappers. 

FR. GIUSEPPE BELLUCCI 
Society of Jesus Spokesperson 
"Unfortunately, we have no news. Our information is limited, because even though we've received some information, we can't confirm if it's indeed valid. One year later, we're still in complete darkness.” 

The silence has been agonizing. So much so that Fr. Dall'Oglio's family uploaded this video, asking kidnappers for answers, whether good, or bad. 

"We ask that those responsible for the disappearance of this good man, a man of faith, a man of peace, to have the dignity to let us know what happened. We'd love to hug him again, but we're also prepared to mourn.”  

For more than 30 years, Fr. Paolo Dall'Oglio lived in Syria. The 59 year old even founded a monastery just north of Damascus. In fact, Fr. Bellucci knew him personally. He describes him as a priest who dedicated his life to promoting co-existence between Christians and Muslims. 

FR. GIUSEPPE BELLUCCI 
Society of Jesus Spokesperson 
"He's a man of great ideas and above all else a man who's open to everyone, people of all religions and practices. He is a very open person.” 

The Italian government and Jesuits in the Middle East have tried to gather reliable information about his whereabouts, but up until now, they have not been successful. 

His friends and family still hold out hope. But they are aware of the danger and violence Syria is experiencing. Especially since the area where he is believed to have been kidnapped is controlled by radicals of the Islamic State, the same group that's currently taking control of major Iraqi cities. 


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