Sulu Vice Gov. Nur Anna Sahidulla, second from left, poses with three kidnapped Red Cross workers last Jan. 28, 2009 in the hinterlands of Jolo in southern Philippines where suspected Abu Sayyaf militants are holding them captive for two weeks now. The Red Cross workers are Swiss national Andreas Notter, right, Italian Eugenio Vagni, second from right, and Filipino Mary Jean Lacaba.
The Holy See Press Office communicated Pope Benedict XVI's appeal to international media in Rome late in the afternoon on March 30 for the release of three kidnapped Red Cross workers in the Philippines and urged the country's authorities to work toward a peaceful solution to the crisis.
"The Holy Father, making his own the concerns of the families and of all those who have at heart the salvation of the three humanitarian workers of the Red Cross who were kidnapped in the Philippine island of Jolo, wishes to raise his voice and make an appeal so that humanitarian sense and reason will prevail over violence and threat," the statement said.
It added that the Pope -"asks, in the name of God, for their liberation, and requests that the authorities favor every peaceful solution of this dramatic event."
The papal call for their release came as the situation escalated following the kidnappers' threat to behead the hostages if the Philippine army did not withdraw from the area, where it claims to have surrounded the extremists' lair.
The kidnap crisis is now on its 75th day, let us pray that both Government and kidnappers to be patient and may they arrived at a peaceful solution to secure the safe and immediate release of all the Red Cross volunteers.
The Peace Prayer of Saint Francis
Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.