BBC World Service focus on kidnapped Jesuit

The BBC World Service is going to broadcast a programme in its 'Heart and Soul' strand on Fr Paolo Dell’Oglio SJ, who was kidnapped in Syria in July 2013.

The programme is part of a series, called 'The Dilemma - The Right Thing' exploring the remarkable life-decisions made by individuals, despite putting their lives at risk. One episode explores the story of Fr Paulo Dall'Oglio, and features Sr Carol from Italy, who worked with Fr Paulo in Mar Musa. It is likely to be aired autumn/winter 2017/2018.

Father Paolo Dall'Oglio (born 1954) is an Italian Jesuit priest and peace activist. He became a Jesuit in 1975 and was exiled from Syria by the government of Bashar al-Assad in 2012 for meeting with members of the opposition and criticising the actions of the al-Assad regime during the Syrian civil war. He was kidnapped by rebels on 29 July 2013.

Before his exile, Fr Dall'Oglio had served for 30 years at the Deir Mar Musa, a 6th-century monastery 80 kilometres (50 miles) north of Damascus. He has been credited with the reconstruction of the Mar Musa complex and its reinvention as a centre of interfaith dialogue.

There has been no information on his whereabouts, or who is holding him, since that time. Pope Francis is among many who continue to call for his immediate release. In 2014 he was awarded (in absentia) the Nobel Missionary Prize by the Missionary Association, Cuore Amico Fraternità. for his "great witness and strong commitment to interreligious dialogue".

The World Service attended the early morning Mass at Farm Street Church on Thursday last week in order to record the Novena which is being prayed for Syria, to commemorate the third anniversary of the martyrdom of Fr Frans van der Lugt SJ in Homs.  They also interviewed Fr Dominic Robinson SJ, Superior of the Mount Street Community.