Fr. Pierluigi Maccalli, a missionary set free this past Oct. 8 after two years in captivity in Niger and Mali, met with Pope Francis on Nov. 9.
In an interview with Vatican News, Fr. Maccalli expressed his great excitement and gratitude for the meeting with the Holy Father, but also for his concern for those missionary lands that have been without a priest for two years.
He also recounts the “experience of essentiality” he had and the relationship with God and the prayer for the mission that always accompanied him. “My tears became my bread for many days, and they were my prayer when I didn’t know what to say. I even wrote it down one day. I’d read somewhere that God counts the number of women’s tears, and I told him, ‘Lord, who knows if you count also those of men. I offer them to you as a prayer to water the arid lands of the mission, but also the arid lands of hearts that feel hatred and cause war and violence.’”
After receiving Fr. Maccalli’s thanks for his prayers, the pope responded, “We sustained you, but you sustained the Church.”