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Jenco Reunited With Weir at Bishop's Palace

July 31, 1986|Associated Press

LONDON — Father Lawrence Jenco had a surprise reunion today with another former hostage, the Rev. Benjamin Weir, and kept a pledge to deliver a message from his Lebanese Muslim kidnapers to the Archbishop of Canterbury, spiritual leader of the Anglican Church.

He later told reporters that he felt like the film character E.T., who kept saying, "Home, home."

"I want to go home," the priest said.

Jenco, 51, of Joliet, Ill., was released Saturday in eastern Lebanon by the Shia Muslim kidnapers of the Islamic Jihad group after 19 months of captivity.

The Roman Catholic priest, who suffers from a heart condition and appeared pale and drawn, delivered the message to Archbishop of Canterbury Robert K. Runcie during a private meeting at Lambeth Palace, the primate's official residence. Jenco had delivered the message to Pope John Paul II at the Vatican on Wednesday.

Special Envoy With Him

The content of the message was not disclosed.

He was accompanied during his meeting with Runcie by Terry Waite, the archbishop's special envoy who has made several trips to Lebanon in an effort to gain the release of hostages there.

Jenco is to fly to Washington on Friday for a meeting with President Reagan. He said that he has a separate message from his former captors for Reagan but that no one else knew its content.

"It's in my heart. It's only in my heart," he said.

Jenco had an unexpected and emotional reunion with the Rev. Weir, a Presbyterian missionary. The two Americans, who were held hostage together in Lebanon, embraced and kissed.

Church Arranged Reunion

Weir, 61, who was held captive for 16 months before being released last Sept. 14, flew to London for the surprise reunion with Jenco arranged by the Anglican Church.

At a news conference, Jenco said the reunion was "a very deep emotional strain for me" and had left him "not that alert right now." He spoke in a low voice. Weir did not appear at the news conference.

Jenco, who was kidnaped in Muslim West Beirut on Jan. 8, 1985, was held with three other Americans kidnaped by Islamic Jihad--Terry Anderson, David Jacobsen and Thomas Sutherland.

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