I am still catching up on my summer reading as I continue with my summer travel and pastoral visits. I came across an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal about Father Paolo Dall’Oglio, an Italian Jesuit priest missing in Syria. Let us take a moment to say a special prayer for the safety of Fr. Paolo.
Here is an excerpt from the op-ed:
On Wednesday, Pope Francis celebrated a Mass for the feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuit order to which he belongs. The pope paused to remember those Jesuit priests who had given their lives in service of their faith. “I’m thinking of Padre Paolo,” he said.
At the moment, no one in the room knew if Father Paolo Dall’Oglio was still alive.
Two days before the pope’s prayer, Father Paolo, an Italian Jesuit priest associated with the Syrian opposition, had been seen walking the streets of Raqqa, a rebel-controlled area in northern Syria. Then he disappeared. Activists reported that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, a militant group affiliated with al Qaeda, had kidnapped him. Contradicting reports soon emerged. Had Father Paolo been kidnapped, or had he purposefully met with the group to negotiate the release of hostages and to broker a truce between Kurds and Islamic extremists fighting in the north?
One thing is certain: No one has heard from him since.
You can read the whole op-ed here.