Interfaith Prayer Service in Niger for Fr Luigi Maccalli SMA

“After nine months of Father Pierluigi Maccalli’s absence, there was the first common moment of prayer with the Muslim leaders of the capital. During the prayer meeting in Niamey… we saw the presence of the bishop of Niamey, a pastor and other members of the intra and interreligious dialogue…
T
here are heavy absences, creative absences, fruitful absences, absences like wounds in which a different future can be sown.
We continue to pray and hope for Father Gigi.” 
 
– Fr. Mauro Armanino SMA

Editor’s Note: Everyday, throughout the Irish Provincial Assembly, our missing confrere Fr. Luigi Maccalli SMA, was remembered in our prayers, especially our daily Eucharist. His image adorns the entrance of the Dromantine Retreat and Conference Centre. Fr. Maccalli was taken by jihadists from his mission on September 18, 2018 and his whereabouts remain unknown.

We have been heartened by the news brought to us from Niamey, Niger, by the Vatican News Agency, Fides (18 June 2019), that nine months after the abduction of Fr. Luigi, the first gathering of Muslim and Christian leaders took place to pray for his wellbeing and safe return.

“After nine months of Father Pierluigi Maccalli’s absence”, Fr. Mauro Armanino SMA said, “there was the first common moment of prayer with the Muslim leaders of the capital.”

“During the prayer meeting in Niamey,” Fr. Armanino told Fides, “in the chapel of Sainte Monique de la Francophonie, we saw the presence of the bishop of Niamey, a pastor and other members of the intra and interreligious dialogue.”

The prayer service continued for about an hour, during which the participants sought ‘to imagine that peace, the “conviviality of differences”, as Father Gigi called it, could make its way through the wounds of all.’ 

Muslims and Christians were united in the pain of many families and too many faithful who have been killed or have disappeared.

Recalling a recent attack on some churches in Maradi, the economic capital of Niger, Fr. Armanino spoke of many absences that are currently being felt in Niger: “There are heavy absences, creative absences, fruitful absences, absences like wounds in which a different future can be sown.”

“We continue to pray and hope for Father Gigi” he told Agenzia Fides. 

To read the Agenzia Fides article, click here.

Following will be a heartfelt ‘Open Letter’ to Fr. Gigi, penned by his confrere Fr. Vito Girotto SMA.