Parents of kidnapped Jesuit appeal for news

The parents of kidnapped Jesuit, Fr Paolo Dall'Oglio, have appealed for information about him - exactly a year after he disappeared in Syria.

There has been no news of the Italian priest since his disappearance in the Syrian city of Raqqa on 29 July 2013. Yesterday, the video below was issued.

"This has also been a long time, too long, for a land ravaged by war and infinite suffering like Syria," says his mother. "We ask those responsible for the disappearance of a good man, a man of faith, a man of peace, to have the dignity to let us know of his fate. We would like to once again hold him in our arms, however we are also prepared to mourn him."

Paolo Dall’Oglio was born in Rome. His father had held important political positions in the Christian Democratic Party, but the son joined the Italian Socialist Party in his youth. On entering the Society of Jesus, he studied Philosophy at the University of Naples. In the early 1980s, Paolo went to Damascus to study Arabic and registered in the Faculty of Sharia at the University of Damascus as an auditor. In 1982, he went to the monastery of Saint Moses the Abyssinian situated 80 km (50 miles) north of Damascus which was abandoned at the time. He played a key role in renovating the monastery starting in 1984. In 1989, he obtained a PhD degree from the Pontifical Gregorian University where he wrote his doctoral dissertation on the “Concept of Hope in Islam".

Farm Street Jesuit Church in central London is hosting a Syria Shrine at its Seven Dolours Altar to pray for peace in Syria, Fr Paolo Dall’Oglio SJ and for Syrian refugees. Three parishioners and a Jesuit priest of the parish have undertaken a pilgrimage along the steps of St Ignatius in Spain to help raise funds for Syria. You can donate here.