Thiruvananthapuram, September 15: Kerala priest Tom Uzhunnalil, has said what he went through "definitely had a purpose" as he thanked all those who helped in his release. He was recently freed from Islamic militants' captivity after 18 months.
He was rescued from captivity in Yemen on September 12 and then flown to the Vatican.
In his first video message after being released on September 12, Father Uzhunnalil said he was "happy, strong in mind and soul" though he needed to recuperate.
"I am sure God will put me back to whatever mission he wants...He has a purpose in our life," the Salesian priest is heard saying in the message from the Vatican, where he is recovering after being freed.
"What I went through definitely had a purpose. I have received the prayers and love of you all. He has ultimately answered. I am free," he said in the video being telecast by local news channels. He said he was fine and had no major illnesses, other than diabetes.
"I have been happy, strong in mind and soul. Still I need a little more recuperation from my physical weaknesses...No major illness, other than my diabetes," he said. He said he was grateful to God and to everybody for their love, concern and prayers. "God is great. His love is everlasting and his mercy definite. May God bless each of you and all those involved in making this day possible," he said.
The Catholic Church, political leaders and family members of Father Uzhunnalil had earlier thanked the governments of India and Oman for the efforts taken to secure his release.
Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI) President and Major Archbishop of Syro Malankara church Baselios Cardinal Cleemis Catholicos and Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, CBCI Secretary General, said the church was grateful to the government of India and all concerned for the steps taken to secure his release.
Father Uzhunnalil, who belongs to Bharananganam in Pala in Kottayam, was abducted from the port city of Aden after the terror group attacked a care home run by Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity. There were several video messages from him after the incident, asking for help.