19 February 2018
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  • » 01/23/2018, 13.35

    INDIA

    Orissa, 534 confirmations in the persecuted Church of Kandhamal

    Purushottam Nayak

    Three Confirmation ceremonies were held in the district. In 2008, the Indian state was the scene of the most violent anti-Christian pogroms. 175 young people confirmed in the parish of St. Peter of Pobingia; 88 other young people in the parish of Saint Sebastian in Saramuli; 271 young people from the parish of St. Joseph of Godapur.

    Cuttack-Bhubaneswar (AsiaNews) - The persecuted Church of Kandhamal, in Orissa, has 534 Christians confirmed in the faith. Last week, three ceremonies took place in the district that in 2008 witnessed the most ferocious anti-Christian persecution in India. To officiate them, Msgr. John Barwa, archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar. The presence of so many confirmations shows that the Christian faith does not waver in the Indian state, despite threats and violence.

    The first ceremony took place on January 18 in the parish of St. Peter of Pobingia. The archbishop has confirmed 175 young people. For the church, destroyed in August 2008 by Hindu radicals, the event takes on an important significance. The extremists wanted to eliminate the Christian presence from this village, and instead the followers of Christ continue to increase.

    On January 20, the day of the liturgical memorial of St. Sebastian, the second ceremony took place in Saramuli, in the farthest parish of the diocese dedicated to the saint. Here the archbishop confirmed 88 young people, in the presence of 3,000 faithful, four priests and six Missionaries of charity. During the homily, Msgr. Barwa said: "Saint Sebastian was killed with bows and arrows for his fidelity to Jesus Christ. Our faith is strengthened in its sacrifice. May he intercede and pray for us today, [so that we may] be courageous enough to bear witness to Jesus unto death. " Then he added: "You are full of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Your behavior matters, your way of life must be an example for others ".

    Reena Baliarsingh, one of the adolescents who received the sacrament of Confirmation, says: "I am grateful to God for having blessed me with the gifts of the Holy Spirit". Puspolota Bagsingh, mother of a young woman, says: "Through confirmation, my daughter will become more mature and stronger".

    Finally, on 21 January, Msgr. Barwa has confirmed another 271 boys from the parish of St. Joseph of Godapur. About 4 thousand faithful, three priests and seven nuns were present. Fr Praful Sobhapati, the parish priest, warmly welcomed “the archbishop, the priests, the sisters and all the participants". Marisha Uthansingh, among the confirmed girls, reports: "I am happy to realize the gifts of the Spirit". Then her father Sushil Unthansingh reiterated that "from now on my daughter's behavior will be purified by the Holy Spirit".

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    See also

    17/04/2009 INDIA
    Orissa: Christians in refugee camps vote but they are just a minority of all displaces people
    The situation is calm in Kandhamal, the Orissa district most affected by Hindu violence. Tight security measures and the timely provision of identity papers allow Christians in refugee camps to cast their ballot. However, another 51,000 displaced Christians who are not in such camps have not been able to vote. Bhubaneswar bishop is “satisfied by the election process”, but stresses that ‘in the villages BJP supporters have threatened to expel Christians if they do not vote for their party.”

    14/09/2010 INDIA
    Orissa bishop slams forced conversion of Catholics to Hinduism
    Cases have been reported in more than ten villages in Kandhamal District. In talks with the state’s chief minister, Mgr Raphael Cheenath, archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar, calls for a greater effort to fight discrimination. “The state describes itself as secular; hence, it should not condone such violence,” he said.

    13/11/2008 INDIA
    Indian commission investigating anti-Christian pogrom in Orissa
    A seven-member team begins inquiry in areas where Hindus massacred Christians. They will meet victims, police officials and local administrators. It is still not known whether Sister Meena will take part in the line-up to identify her assailants.

    03/09/2010 INDIA
    More than 4,000 Christians victims of abuses and forced conversions in Orissa
    In 20 villages in Kandhamal District hit by anti-Christian pogroms in 2008, Hindus continue to prevent Christians from participating in social life, including the use of public fountains and cutting wood in the forest. “they need to live a dignified life. The Orissa State government has an obligation to do something about it and protect Christians from this inhuman treatment,” the archbishop Cuttack-Bhubaneswar said.

    24/07/2009 INDIA
    A year after the swami’s murder, a “day of peace and harmony” in Orissa
    A day of remembrance is called for 23 August to commemorate the assassination of Hindu leader and the victims of the anti-Christian pogrom. Mgr Cheenath, archbishop of Cuttack- Bhubaneswar, is among the promoters of the initiative. India and the world should remember the event so that violence against religious minorities is stopped around the world.



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