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Rome Reports

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Meet the priest who was kidnapped by the Taliban and lived to tell about it

He was kidnapped by the Taliban and lived to tell about it. His name is Alexis Prem Kumar. A Catholic priest from India, who was volunteering in a school in Afghanistan. One day his life turned upside down.  FR. ALEXIS PREM KUMAR  Kidnapping Victim  "They put me in the backside of the car and they told me, not to look around and they asked me to lie down. Then, they told me if you look out, we will shoot you.â?  He was taken hostage by four gunmen. When he arrived to a local village, the first thing he saw was a young boy, who pointed his index finger to his neck, mimicking as if the priest's throat would be slashed.  FR. ALEXIS PREM KUMAR  Kidnapping Victim  "They were in a sense brain washed. Totally brain washed. They were in a sense, forced to take up arms.â?  For months, his hands and feet were tied most of the time. It was mentally and physically exhausting. He would pray at least three hours a day, and that, he says, helped  him get through the ordeal.  Without him knowing it, he says Pope Francis also helped. His captors gave him a small radio, where he could hear the Pope's voice.  FR. ALEXIS PREM KUMAR  Kidnapping Victim  "I wanted to greet him personally, because when I was there in captivity, I used to listen to Vatican Radio. It was his program, speeches, homilies, it was really consoling me.â? This month, he got to greet Pope Francis in Rome and thank him for his support. After 8 months and 20 days, with the help of his Jesuit Order and the government,  he was released. Now he's back in India.  He says the ordeal brought him closer to God and he has since forgiven his captors. Most surprisingly, he says, he is willing to go back and volunteer once again in that same small village where his life forever changed.  FR. ALEXIS PREM KUMAR  Kidnapping Victim  "If my superiors, if they ask me to go, if that is Godâ??s plan, I cannot say no to that.â?  KLH  AA -JM PR Up:LOA