05/28/2014, 00.00
INDIA
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Andhra Pradesh: Via Crucis desecration at Catholic ashram

by Nirmala Carvalho
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.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - A group of vandals desecrated all the statues at the 14 Stations of the Cross in the Cristu Jyothi ashram in Warangal (Andhra Pradesh), the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) told AsiaNews.

The incident occurred last Sunday morning, between 8 and 10 am, when the priests were away from the ashram, to celebrate Mass.

"The GCIC is anguished at the desecration of all the 14 Stations," GCIC president Sajan George told AsiaNews.

"The vandals," he said, "shattered the 5-feet cement statues of the soldiers at every station of the cross, but they did not damage any of the crosses".

Such "an "act of vandalism deeply offends the religious sentiments" of the community, he lamented, and is the "work of evil perpetrators."

Mgr Alfonso Beretta, the diocese's bishop emeritus and a missionary from the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME), inaugurated the Cristu Jyothi on 3 April 1993.

Since then, priests from the Catholic Congregation of the Holy Spirit have run the community.

On 8 January 1953, Mgr Beretta became the first bishop of the Diocese of Warangal, which was created a year earlier out of the Diocese of Hyderabad.

He was a strong supporter of the ashram.

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