05/29/2017, 15.09
INDIA
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Archbishop of Hyderabad carries out rituals to rites of reparation in church attacked by fundamentalists

The archdiocese comes up a programme of spiritual activities ending on 9 June with a ritual of purification of the vandalised place. "We got to know from the concerned officials that [. . .] some religious fundamentalists and anti-social elements [. . .] instigated the people,” said Archbishop Bala.

Secunderabad (AsiaNews) – "I call upon all the clergy, religious and faithful in the Archdiocese to [. . .] participate in the spiritual activities” to repair the desecration of Our Lady of Fatima Church in Keesara, Medchal district (Telangana), said Mgr Thumma Bala, archbishop of Hyderabad.

In his appeal, the prelate urges local Catholics, men and women of faith, to respond with prayers to the vandalism of "about 100 people instigated by some religious fundamentalists and anti-social elements."

The archdiocese issued two statements following the serious incident on Sunday, 21 May, which came just a few days after the inauguration of the Christian place of worship. The second lists planned activities, and calls on the diocese’s parish priests to inform the congregations as widely as possible about the initiatives.

Tomorrow, an Eucharistic worship will be held in St Mary High School in Secunderabad, followed by a Mass presided by the archbishop. Net Friday, two hours of Eucharistic adoration will be held in all the parishes of the diocese, followed the next day by the Rosary.

On 9 June, all Catholics – clergy, religious and laity – are called to observe a day of fasting and prayer. On the same day a group of Catholics will travel to the church hall to celebrate a ritual of purification.

The first statement describes how the church was attacked. The building is on land that belongs to U. George Reddy, a Catholic. It states that the local Church reported "the unfortunate incident" to the police inspector "seeking stern action against the culprits."

The archdiocese sought "protection for the churches and the Catholic minority community" with Telangana Home Minister. “He assured us that he would do full justice to us and would tell the concerned authorities to give permission for the Church. We got to know from the concerned officials that there were some religious fundamentalists and anti-social elements who instigated the people in this regard. Among the people arrested, they were also included.”

The statement goes on to say that the destruction inside the church was a deliberate act, without apparent reason on private land. Archbishop Bala notes that Mr Reddy "donated 500 sq. yards and the archdiocese purchased from him about 700 sq yards (altogether 1,200 sq yards).

Mr Reddy obtained a permit to build a multipurpose hall. Three months earlier, “the parish priest [had] applied to the Collector for permission [to build] a church, which is in the process” of being finalised.

In signing off the statement, the archbishop says, "I wish you all the best, the special blessings of the Risen Lord and the loving care and maternal protection of our Blessed Mother, Fatima Mata."

 (Nirmala Carvalho contributed to this article)

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