The ceremonies took place on 17 December with 25 priests, 30 nuns and 10,000 believers present. The Christian faith remains steadfast locally despite the violence of the 2008 pogroms by Hindu fundamentalists.
Cuttack-Bhubaneswar (AsiaNews) - Thousands of Catholics took part in the ordination of four young deacons and the confirmation in Christ of 348 people in Kandhamal. Both ceremonies took place last Sunday in Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Bamunigam.
The two events mark the most significant moment for the local Catholics during Advent and confirm the strength of the Christian faith in the State of Odisha (Orissa), marked by terrible pogroms in 2008.
Some 25 priests, 30 nuns and 10,000 believers attended the ordination Mass, presided by Mgr John Barwa, archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar.
"Today you are entrusted with the great task of preaching the Gospel with conviction, administering the sacraments, visiting the poor, the sick and the afflicted,” the archbishop told the new deacons: Askhya Senapati, Ananta Uthansingh, Deepak Uthansingh and Divyaranjan Digal.
“You must be clear in your preaching, with a strong faith in Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit provides you with the wonderful gifts of wisdom, understanding, counsel, courage, pity and the fear of God," he added.
Mgr Barwa also confirmed 348 people.
"I am very happy to receive the sacrament of confirmation, which makes me aware of the gifts of the Holy Spirit,” said Snigdha Nayak, one of the newly confirmed.
Fr Santosh Singh, the local parish priest, is convinced that "now the kids will become more mature".
"We prepared them for five months,” said Bijay Mantri, the catechist.