Often, the jihadists who were behind his kidnapping tried to talk Fr. Maccalli into abandoning Christianity and when they failed, they told him he was destined for hell, he recalls in the interview.
He also recalled, in the interview, how, one day when the jihadists allowed him to listen to the radio, he was overjoyed to follow Pope Francis’ Homily.
“I put my ear closer and tuned the radio better, and I found myself at the beginning of the Pentecost Day Mass in communion with the Pope, the Church and the world. I said to myself, today I am in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome and at the same time I am on a mission in Africa,” he recalled, recounting what he describes as one of the most emotional experiences during his two-year captivity.
Fr. Maccalli said that in the November 9 meeting he had asked the Holy Father to keep the Catholic Church in Niger in his prayers and that the Pope listened very attentively.
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
At ACI Africa, our team is committed to reporting the truth with courage, integrity, and fidelity to our faith. We provide news from Africa, as seen through the teachings of the Catholic Church - so that you can grow in your Catholic faith.
When you subscribe to the ACI Africa Updates, we will send you a daily email with links to the news you need.
Use the form below to stay informed, and to tell us where we can send the ACI Africa Updates!
As part of this free service you may receive occasional offers from us at EWTN News and EWTN. We won't rent or sell your information, and you can unsubscribe at any time.
The missionary said he also thanked Pope Francis for his prayers, together with those of the Church, for his liberation.
According to the Italian Cleric, Pope Francis replied by saying that the Church had supported him, but he too had supported the Church.
“I had no words in the face of his; me, a little missionary and he who said this to me... I really have no words,” the priest said.
In a report shared with ACI Africa, the SMA Priest returned to his home in Crema, Italy, where his family awaited him.
His sister, Clementina Maccalli told InBlu Radio at the time of her brother’s release, “We are living an immense joy and a great happiness. After a long time waiting, I can finally hug him again.”
“His mission is to take the Gospel where it is not yet known,” she said, adding that, during his kidnapping, “hope has never failed. We have a lot of faith and this has helped us.”