THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Fr Tom Uzhunnalil, who was recently released from captivity by terrorists in Yemen, on Tuesday urged people to pray unitedly to end the war, terrorism and violence gripping the world.“Many countries are facing war and terrorism. The other day, we saw the violent incident in the United States. We cannot end such incidents through guns and bombs. It is possible only if we use the weapon called prayer,” said Fr Tom.
The priest was speaking at a public reception organised for him at the Girideepam Convention Centre at Nalanchira which was attended by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and various religious leaders. Fr Tom recalled with gratitude the prayers offered by people from all religious groups for his safe return and added his release would not have been possible without those prayers. Recounting his experiences while in captivity, Fr Tom said the terrorists did not cause him any bodily harm. He added they offered him food and medicines even during the Ramzan fasting period.
The Chief Minister commended Fr Tom’s resolve and mental strength while in captivity and said it would serve as a guiding light for those in distress. He also urged society to be vigilant against spirituality deviating into communalism and terrorism.Chandy said along with prayers of the people, Fr Tom’s patience and perseverance was a crucial factor in his release. He said Fr Tom was able to win over terrorists with his humility and simplicity.
Head of the Syro-Malankara Church Cardinal Baselios Cleemis, Latin Catholic Auxillary Bishop Christudas R, Marthoma Chruch Thiruvananthapuram Diocesan Bishop Joseph Mar Barnabas Episcopa, Palayam Imam Suhaib Moulavi, Sivagiri Mutt general secretary Swami Sandrananda and Salesian provincial Fr Joyce Thonnikuzhiyil were among those who spoke. Pinarayi invited Fr Tom and church leaders to his official residence for dinner. Earlier, Fr Tom called on Governor P Sathasivam at the Raj Bhavan to express gratitude for his intervention in ensuring his release from the militants.
The priest also met Chandy earlier in the day at his residence and expressed gratitude for his intervention in securing his release while he was Chief Minister and also in his personal capacity. KPCC president M M Hassan, MLAs K C Joseph, V S Sivakumar, K S Sabarinadhan and M Vincent were among those present. Fr Tom prayed with Chandy and his family members. Fr Tom also called on Cardinal Cleemis at the Pattom Major Archbishop’s House here in the morning.