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Pope prays for kidnapped Colombian priest

Pope John Paul II continues to pray for a Colombian priest kidnapped almost two months ago.

Spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said the Holy Father asked in a letter sent by Vatican secretary of state Cardinal Angelo Sodano that other priests of the diocese to remain hopeful as they continue their normal service.

He said: "The pope encourages the bishop and the priests of the diocese to continue with courage and hope in their commitment of evangelisation and asks them to attend with constancy to the spiritual and social needs of the faithful entrusted to them."

42 year old parish priest Fr Peña García was apparently kidnapped by guerrillas of the Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia (FARC), in a mountainous region of Colombia, on 15 March.

In recent weeks, several Catholic priests have reported death threats by FARC guerrillas.

Archbishop Isaías Duarte Cancino of Cali, was killed by FARC rebels in March 2002. In November 2002, the same rebel group kidnapped Bishop Jorge Enrique Jiménez Carvajal of Zipaquira, the then president of the Latin American bishops' council. Shortly after, he was liberated by the army.

Pope says he keeps kidnapped Colombian priest in his prayers (Catholic News Service 4/5/04)
Pope Appeals for Release of Kidnapped Colombian Priest(Zenit 4/5/04)

Pope pleads for kidnapped Colombian priest (Catholic World News 5/5/04)
John Paul II Appeals for Peace in Colombia (Zenit 25/4/04)
Pope to canonize Lebanese monk known for spirituality, devotions (Catholic News Service 4/5/04)
Papal audience: Christ as center of history (Catholic World News 5/5/04)
Work Needs to Be Redeemed, Says John Paul II (Zenit 4/5/04)
International Law Must Respect Moral Truths, Says Pope(Zenit 4/5/04)
Pope Confirms Plan to Visit Loreto in September(Zenit 4/5/04)
We are part of a project which comes from our Father's love (Vatican Information Service 5/5/04)

6 May 2004