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Bossi not to be assigned in Payao

MANILA, July 24, 2007--Italian priest Giancarlo Bossi would not be assigned again to his parish San Pablo in Payao in Zamboanga Sibugay, said his regional superior on July 22.

Speaking exclusively to CBCP News Fr. Gianbattista Sandalo, at the Mary Queen of Apostles Parish in the Diocese of Parañaque, south of Manila, he said Fr. Bossi will be working in Mindanao, but not certainly in the San Pablo.

However, the final decision will depend on Fr. Gian Battista Zanchi, superior general of PIME (Pontifical Institute of Foreign Mission) to which Fr. Bossi belong, who is expected to arrive in Manila end of this month for a meeting of the congregation, Fr. Sandalo said.

Fr. Bossi will join him back to Italy to meet Pope Benedict XVI, family and relatives and possibly the Prime Minster of Italy, and address Italian Youth gathering in a town Loreto, August 1-2, which is organized by the Italian bishops’ conference. Meanwhile Fr Bossi will also take some months rest in Italy, Fr. Sandalo said.

When asked how long Fr. Bossi will stay in his home country, Fr. Sandalo said “couple of months” after which Fr. Bossi will return to Philippines.

Earlier Fr. Bossi said he is willing to go back to his parish after he returns from Italy, if his superiors will allow him.

“It is upto Fr. Zanchi, superior general, and the newly-elected bishop Msgr. Julius Sullan Tonel of Ipile, about my assignment,” Fr. Bossi said.

However, he will visit his parish on 26th July for a day, for which the parishioners and others are eagerly waiting for him, before he flies to Italy.

Fr. Bossi celebrated his first Mass at the Queen of the Mary Queen of Apostles Parish in the Diocese of Paranaque, on Sunday, after he was released on July 19.

About 200 people attended the church service. Bossi, a 57-year-old missionary from Milan, thanked those who had prayed and supported him during the 39-day ordeal, including the Pope and 14 Marines who were killed in a clash with rebels while searching for him.

He was seized July 10 and held in the jungles along the border of southern Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur by rogue members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, a rebel group engaged in peace talks with the government.

“I still feel like a prisoner,” he jokingly told the congregation, saying he has been overwhelmed by the limelight and flurry of media interviews. (Santosh Digal)