The ceremony was held in St Antony of Padua parish during the solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. The Odisha Church is a "persecuted Church". The behaviour of Christians "must show that we belong to God".
Cuttack (AsiaNews) – The Catholic Church of Odisha (Orissa) has been blessed by 19 new confirmations and three first communions.
The celebration took place yesterday in St Antony of Padua parish in the Naya Bazaar area, near the state capital of Cuttack, in the presence of 250 worshippers, three priests and seven sisters.
The event is even more significant considering that in 2008 the Indian state saw the worst massacres of Christians by Hindu extremists.
In his homily, Mgr John Barwa, archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneshwar, said that "The Church of Odisha is a persecuted Church, but the Holy Spirit strengthens us."
Despite the celebration of the patron saint on 13 June, the parish decided to anticipate the communions and confirmations so that they could be held on the solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. Parishioners welcomed the archbishop with a traditional dance, followed by Mass.
"I am happy to receive the confirmation and I thank God for the gift of his wisdom, knowledge and fear," said Nambrata Bage, one of the confirmed. Mother Reena noted that the girl "will receive from now on support from parents and seniors to be a good person."
"The Holy Trinity of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, one God in three divine people united in perfect love, shows itself to us through their love for us human beings,” said Bishop Barwa. And “Through the action and intervention of the Holy Spirit, the people of God continue to experience God's love today."
"The Spirit,” he went on to day, “encourages, sanctifies, teaches, and enlightens the faithful about the Christian life, especially in situations of difficulty, temptation, and persecution." Indeed, "life may end at any time, but faith is eternal and God’s love is unconditionally displayed through the Holy Spirit."
He urged those present to "imitate the divine qualities of Saint Anthony of Padua, who is invoked and venerated all over the world as the patron saint of lost causes. Many miracles have been attributed to him by people who are lost, or for lost things and spiritual goods."
As he anointed the children with the chrism, Mgr Barwa said, "With the sacrament of Confirmation, let the world know that we are Christians, let it know our way of life. Our behaviour must show that we belong to God."