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Pope Francis prays for priest kidnapped in Niger

The pope has met with the General assembly of the Society of African Missions. The organization was founded in 1858 in France, with the intent of bringing the Gospel to the most remote areas.

At that time, many of its members were martyred along the Slave Coast of West Africa, with the average life expectancy of a missionary being a mere two and a half years.

Although the situation is rather different now, these missionaries continue to risk their lives.


"Thank you for your missionary zeal, imbued with courage, it leads you to go out and offer to all, the life of Jesus Christ, sometimes putting your own life in danger."

"In this sense, I would like to join you in prayer for your brother Pierluigi Maccalli, who has been kidnapped for several months now in Niger.”

Pierluigi Maccalli was kidnapped in September 2018, in his parish, a border area between Niger and Burkina Faso. 

Pope Francis thanked the Society of African Missions for its work, and for its initiatives helping Africans migrating to other parts of the world.  


“The choice in favor of the last- those whom society rejects and sets aside- is a sign that concretely manifests itself in the presence and care of the merciful Christ.”

The Society of African Mission is made up of priests and laity. It currently has 923 members. They are present in 16 countries in Africa, and in various other locations across the Americas, Europe and Asia.