» 12/16/2013, 00.00
Ancient Mumbai crucifix desecrated. Card Gracias : A wound for the entire population
Unknown assailants pulled the statue of Jesus from the cross and smashed it to pieces. The incident occurred in the district of Vile Parle , near the church of St. Francis Xavier, where 37 children were preparing to receive their First Holy Communion . The archbishop of Mumbai describes it as an “attack on the tolerance , harmony and diversity that characterize our beloved city ." Last September, another church was desecrated in Mumbai .
- An ancient crucifix was vandalized and desecrated yesterday in Vile Parle , a
suburb of Mumbai. The
authors of this terrible attack remain unknown thus far, but the attack itself has
shocked the local Catholic community. Speaking
to AsiaNews Card. Oswald
Gracias , archbishop of Mumbai and president of the Catholic Bishops'
Conference of India (CBCI ) , said that " this serious act of vandalism to
the Body of Christ hurts all of us, and also affects the tolerance , harmony
and diversity that characterize our beloved the
crucifix dates back to 1880 and is located along the main street of the
to the Santa Cruz police - who are investigating the attack - the episode occurred
in the early hours of the morning. The
alarm was raised by a parishioner of the Church of St. Francis Xavier in Vile
Parle, which is located a short distance from the cross. The statue
of Jesus was removed from the cross, and dismembered .
way the statue of Jesus was smashed - highlights Card. Gracias - causes me
great anguish: his hands were broken and thrown away, and the head has a deep
crack , and only a small part of the body is still attached to the Cross". He adds: "it
a very sad moment for us, especially as it is not an isolated
incident, in September 2013,
St. Joseph in Juhu was desecrated and looted. While
we forgive those, who have committed this act, we also pray for the perpetrator
, and we pray for our city, that the Spirit of peace, harmony, mutual co
existence and tolerance may prevail upon each one".
parishioner who discovered the incident - the
parish priest Fr. Theodore Fernandes , told AsiaNews
- informed me right away. Our community is saddened by the desecration, because
this crucifix has existed for generations and people of all faiths always
brought offerings . "
makes the attack even sadder, the priest says , "is that yesterday 37
children were preparing to receive their First Holy Communion in our church
a sign of respect, in the late afternoon , the parishioners took part in a procession
from the church to the Cross, praying the rosary. In
addition, from now until the 21st of December parishioners recite the Rosary of
the Divine Mercy at the foot of the cross. Today
will preside at a Mass of reparation.
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The faithful found the Vile Parle statue of Jesus with its arms broken off. Hundreds of Catholics in protest at the arrest - judged unfair – of a member of the community. The crucifix was also vandalized in December 2013.
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Vandals took advantage of the absence of the Catholic priests from the Congregation of the Holy Spirit who run Cristu Jyothi. The Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) tells AsiaNews that such an act "offends the religious sentiments" of the community. Bishop Emeritus Mgr Beretta, PIME, had inaugurated the ashram.
"Implacable" violence against Goa Christians, says archbishop
Mgr Filipe Neri Ferrao slams cross desecration and church burglaries in Goa calling on the authorities to do something. Council for Justice and Peace director says such acts are politically motivated.
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