Mumbai (AsiaNews) - Dozens of priests, seminarians and lay Catholics celebrated a mass in memory of Fr. K.J. Thomas this morning, the rector of the seminary in Bangalore (Karnataka) murdered yesterday morning at dawn. Meanwhile, the police continue to investigate a murder described as "brutal, terrible and senseless" by Msgr. Bernard Moras, Archbishop of Bangalore, speaking to AsiaNews. In the coming hours the priest's body will be transported in Ootacamund, his native diocese, where the funeral will take place. The local bishop will communicate the date as soon as it has been decided.
According to preliminary reports, the murder took place between 2:30 and 3 am on April 1, at which time cries were heard. The battered body was found at the table of the pontifical St. Peter's seminary at dawn. According to police, the rain that hit Bangalore on Easter night helped cover the murderers' actions, allowing them to enter the building undisturbed. The motive is not yet clear, but it seems that the attackers hit Fr. Thomas over the head and face with a brick to prevent him from raising the alarm. The face and body of the priest were so mangled that priests and seminarians struggled to recognize him. Police suggest the motive for the attack was theft, given that some documents were missing from the office of Fr. Thomas and the administration. However, his computer, iPad and other assets were not touched.
Yesterday morning, Fr. Thomas, in his second term as rector of the seminary, was supposed to pick up his sister, a nun at the airport. Seeing that her brother did not respond to her repeated calls, the nun went on her own to the seminary, where she received the terrible news.
The murder of Fr. Thomas has shocked the entire community, because he appeared to have no enemies, no problems. Archbishop Moras describes him as "a devout and calm priest, whose death is a great loss for all of us and especially for the seminary." Card. Oswald Gracias, as president of the Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI), expressed "my sincere condolences to the family of Fr. Thomas, students and staff of the seminary. He was a dear friend and a humble priest, compassionate, respectable and good-hearted, loved by everyone. "