BY SCO Admin | November 2 2012 | comments icon 2 COMMENTS     print icon print


Prayers for missing priest

Service held to pray for the safe return of Fr Jean-Pierre Ndulani, former priest of Dunkeld Diocese

Prayers have been offered throughout Dunkeld Diocese for the safe return of a former Dundee priest who was kidnapped at gunpoint on October 19 by rebel forces in his war-torn homeland, the Democratic Republic of Congo, shortly after his return there.

On Sunday, Bishop Emeritus Vincent Logan of Dunkeld attended a two-hour prayer service at Wellburn Home in Dundee, the house of the Little Sisters of the Poor in the city, for Fr Jean-Pierre Ndulani from the Order of the Augustinians of the Assumption. The priest had stayed at Wellburn during his six years in Scotland, before returning home in September.

Fr Ndulani is reported to be one of three Catholic priests who were abducted by armed men from the Notre-Dame des Pauvres parish church house in Mbau, 70km from Butmebo in Eastern Congo, last month.


Shock and hope

Mother Marie-Aimee, mother superior at Wellburn Home, said that news of the former Little Sisters of the Poor chaplain’s abduction had come as ‘a great shock’ to the community at Wellburn.

“During his time with us, he was a very approachable, very kind man and was well known in the local area,” she said. “It was amazing the number of people that joined us at the prayer service on Sunday. Hopefully our prayers will not go astray.”

She told the SCO that the most recent news she had heard regarding Fr Ndulani came last week from a brother priest in the Congo via email stating that all three priests were still alive.

The religious community and people from throughout the Dundee area have been offering their prayers and support for the missing priests, which was exemplified at Sunday afternoon’s prayer service, which was led by Mgr Ken McCaffrey, vicar general of Dunkeld Diocese.

“The people of Dundee have responded tremendously to our call for prayer,” Mgr McCaffrey said. “Wellburn Home was absolutely full for two hours on Sunday.”

Mgr McCaffrey added that he understands a ‘ransom has been asked for’ by the priests’ abductors and that the community in Dundee is ‘hoping and praying that the priests will return home safe and sound.’

The vicar general recalled that, during Fr Ndulani’s six years in Dundee, he was ‘loved by everybody’ and was widely recognised as a ‘very considerate and kind priest.’ He recently celebrated the silver jubilee of his profession with Dunkeld Diocesan clergy.


Distressing news

Fr Ndulani’s last public Mass in Dundee was on September 22 at St Clement’s Church. He joined Bishop Logan and priests from across Dunkeld Diocese to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the church. It was announced at the end of the anniversary Mass that Fr Ndulani would be leaving Dundee the next day to return to the Congo.

On learning of Fr Ndulani’s abduction, Bishop Logan said the local community was ‘distraught at this news about Fr Jean-Pierre and his fellow priests.’

“He is a dedicated priest, a man of God for whom any display of violence would be abhorrent,” Bishop Logan said. “In the six years he spent in our diocese he made an enormous contribution and touched the lives of many people. He is loved and respected by priests and people alike. I am praying that he and his colleagues will be found soon, unharmed.

“My prayers, too, are for the members of his order and for Jean-Pierre’s family and the families of his companions. We can only imagine their anguish.

“All of us in Dunkeld are united with them as we hope and pray for Fr Jean-Pierre’s safe return.”


DR Congo efforts

Fr Ndulani and two Catholic priests were captured at gunpoint on Friday October 19. It is believed that the kidnappers are members of the Congo-based ADF-Nalu-Allied Democratic Forces and the National Army for the Liberation of Uganda.

The Episcopal Conference of Congo has condemned the kidnapping.

“I hope that the kidnappers are aware of the size of their act and take this into account,” Bishop Nicolas Djomo of Tsumbe said. “We appeal to the kidnappers who committed this unacceptable act to safeguard the physical and moral integrity of the three priests and free them without conditions to enable them to continue their pastoral service and assistance to the people of Mbau.”



Comments - 2 Responses

  1. m says:

    Great! Thanks for sharing it

  2. Gerry says:

    How can it be that the Diocese of Dunkeld has a Vicar General, when it does not currently have a Bishop? As I understand Canon Law, the post of Vicar General lapses when the See is vacant.

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