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Pope meets with family of kidnapped Italian Jesuit

Pope Francis met with family members of Italian Jesuit Fr Paolo Dall’Oglio, whose fate is still unknown after he was kidnapped in Syria in 2013.

Alessandro Gisotti, interim director of the Vatican press office, told reporters on 30th January that the pope held the private audience at his residence, the Domus Sanctae Marthae.

The meeting took place in “a particularly cordial atmosphere,” Gisotti said, and included Fr Dall’Oglio’s mother, four sisters and one brother.

“The audience represents the pope’s affection and proximity toward the family of the Italian Jesuit who was kidnapped in Syria in July of 2013.”

The pope met with family members on another occasion at the Jesuit headquarters in Rome in July 2014 – just a few days after the first anniversary of the priest’s disappearance.

The Italian missionary was a respected promoter of peace and Christian-Muslim dialogue in Syria. Witnesses had reported that on the day the priest disappeared he was going to speak to leaders at the Daesh headquarters in Raqqa, Syria, to try to persuade them to release several hostages being held there.

Picture: Italian Jesuit Fr Paolo Dall’Oglio is pictured in 2008 in an ancient cave near the Mar Musa monastery in Syria. Pope Francis met with family members of the Italian Jesuit, whose fate is still unknown after he was kidnapped in Syria in 2013. (CNS photo/John Feister).