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    » 12/16/2013, 00.00


    Ancient Mumbai crucifix desecrated. Card Gracias : A wound for the entire population

    Nirmala Carvalho

    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 .

    Mumbai (AsiaNews) - 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 city. "

    The crucifix dates back to 1880 and is located along the main street of the neighborhood. According 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 .

    "The 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 is indeed 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".

    "The 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 . "

    What makes the attack even sadder, the priest says , "is that yesterday 37 children were preparing to receive their First Holy Communion in our church ." As 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 Card. Gracias will preside at a Mass of reparation.



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    See also

    15/07/2014 INDIA
    Mumbai, ancient crucifix desecrated a second time
    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.

    03/02/2006 INDIA
    Hindu fundamentalists desecrate Cross in Goa
    The resort town of Aldona is the scene of the act of vandalism. On a broken piece of the cross, someone wrote Mr Foreigner. "The cross is at the heart of our Christian faith. This act deeply hurts our religious feelings," says Fr Babu Joseph.

    28/05/2014 INDIA
    Andhra Pradesh: Via Crucis desecration at Catholic ashram
    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.

    17/03/2006 INDIA
    "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.

    21/07/2005 INDIA
    Crosses desecrated in Goa

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