Mumbai (AsiaNews) - "Let
us not lose hope. Let us not allow Fr Thomas's martyrdom be in vain. May his
blood bring vigour and strength to his students and inspire new vocations to
the priesthood," Card Oswald Gracias, president of the Catholic Bishops'
Conference of India (CBCI), told the Church in India. The latter is still under
shock after the terrible
murder of Fr K.J. Thomas, rector at St Peter's Pontifical Seminary in
Bangalore (Karnataka), who was killed by unknown persons on Easter night. His funeral
is set for this Saturday at Ettumanoor, his native village near Kottayam
At present, police are continuing
their investigation into the murder, whose authors or motive is still a mystery.
Students and staff at the seminary in Bangalore that Fr K.J. Thomas had run for
two terms are mourning his death. All of them describe the clergyman as "a
humble and good-hearted man."
As CBCI president, Card
Gracias wants the Indian Church as a whole to respond "to the pain and distress
caused by Fr Thomas's dreadful murder." For him, the clergyman's "murder must
be a tribute to the priesthood. We priests are called to give our life to the
people, devote ourselves, if necessary, to the point of death and this is what
happened to Fr Thomas."
"In the Chrism
Mass, Pope Francis reminded us priests that we must always be
'shepherds with the smell of sheep, as shepherds among your flock, fishers of
men," the prelate noted. "A priest's life is precarious and its fulfilment lies
only in serving others."
"Students loved their
rector, Fr Thomas," the prelate added. "Even in his death, he will continue to
inspire seminarians to dedicate their lives to Jesus. Even in death, Fr Thomas
is a powerful witness, who proclaims the death and the resurrection of our