Brother of kidnapped Salesian stays home in prayer, awaits 'good news'

IMAGE: CNS photo/Anto Akkara

By Anto Akkara

RAMAPURAM, India (CNS) — The
Indian government might have dispelled rumors of the Good Friday crucifixion of
kidnapped Salesian Father Thomas Uzhunnalil, but Mathew Uzhunnalil still

“I am waiting for clear
good news. Until then, I will stay at home,” Mathew Uzhunnalil, 73, told
Catholic News Service from his ancestral house in Ramapuram.

For more than a month — since
his brother was kidnapped in Aden,
Yemen, in early March — Mathew Uzhunnalil has lived alone, with no TV or radio,
in the house tucked in the midst of rubber plantations. He said he will return
to his family in Gujarat “only after I have clear news about Father Tom,”
his 56-year-old younger brother.

Mathew Uzhunnalil said many
people have come to visit and have told him how the Indian foreign minister said
his brother was safe. The government also assured a delegation from the
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India that the government was exploring all
possible means for his “quick and safe release.”

“A lot of people are coming
here (to the house) and even hold prayer meetings (for the safety of the priest),” he told CNS.

“I pray, recite the rosary
and read,” Mathew Uzhunnalil replied when asked how he spent time in the
home, where all the eight Uzhunnalil siblings were born.

“Leave everything in God’s
hands and trust in him. Everything is secure in God’s hands,” Mathew Uzhunnalil
said, quoting a book his sister gave him years ago.

Reflecting on the deep faith of
younger brother, Mathew Uzhunnalil said, “Father Thomas is a very cool and
quiet person.”

He recalled that his brother
shared what he used to tell the Missionaries of Charity in the evenings at the
old-age home in Aden, where four nuns and 12 others were killed when the priest
was kidnapped March 4.

“We got one more day today.
Let us thank God for that,” Mathew Uzhunnalil said, quoting the kidnapped

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