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Kidnapped Jesuit says he found joy listening to Vatican Radio

Jesuit Fr Alexis Prem Kumar, who was released last month (CNS)

Jesuit priest Fr Alexis Prem Kumar, who was held captive by the Taliban in Afghanistan for over eight months, has revealed how prayer and Vatican Radio kept him going during his ordeal.

Fr Kumar, from Tamil Nadu state in southern India, was visiting a Jesuit Refugee ‎Service-supported school 20 miles from Herat in Afghanistan on June last year when he was forced at gunpoint into a vehicle by armed men, whose identity remains a mystery but who are believed to be linked to the Taliban. His captors had provided him with a radio receiver, and this he used to tune in to Vatican Radio’s Tamil and English programmes.

He told the radio station that during his ordeal “I prayed three times a day and listened to Vatican Radio, both in English and Tamil. Whenever I could listen to Vatican Radio I was so happy.” He added that he often listened to the consoling and encouraging voice of Pope Francis and for this “I’m grateful to Vatican Radio”.