In the 18 months he was held captive, Uzhunnalil relied upon prayer for perseverance.
"It was thanks to the prayers of everyone who prayed for me that I was able to endure what I was going through. It wasn't because of my personal fortitude but because of the prayers of my brothers and sisters in the faith," he said.
Uzhunnalil also relied on personal prayer during his captivity.
"Every day, I prayed the Angelus; three or four Rosaries; an Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be for the sisters who died; the Chaplet of Divine Mercy; I meditated on the Way of the Cross; and I celebrated Holy Mass spiritually - I didn't have any bread or wine but I said the prayers from memory," he said.
"I prayed for my captors and I thanked God for the seed of goodness they could have in their hearts. Thanks be to God, I don't hold any rancor or hatred for them," he added.
"God knew everything that was happening, because they should have killed me in the beginning, but they didn't. They kept me alive even though I said I was a Christian. Here I am now, free, to bear witness that God is alive, that he has heard our prayers and has answered us. I have witnessed the power of prayer," he told ACI Prensa.
After his release on September 12, 2017, he met with Pope Francis, a moment that was "tremendously emotional."
"During the meeting with Pope Francis, I cried and I thanked him for the prayers he had prayed for me that he had asked to be prayed for me."
Uzhunnalil encouraged all Christians who are suffering persecution today to be steadfast in prayer and in faith in God.
The priest currently lives in Bangalore, India, since Yemen is still at war. However, he assures that he is ready to go back to the country "if that's God's will."
This article was originally published by our sister agency, ACI Prensa. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.
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