06/07/2017, 09.52
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Archbishop of Calcutta: saddened by vandalism of St. Luke's Church

by Nirmala Carvalho

Vandals struck at dawn on 6 June. The Christian place of worship is just a few hundred yards from the convent, where a religious sister,  72 years of age, was raped in 2015. The robbers broke the hosts, stole old vestments, and about 3,000 rupees

Calcutta (AsiaNews) – Unknown criminals have vandalized and pillaged St. Luke's Church at Dayabari Mission Gate in Ranaghat (about 70km from Calcutta) in West Bengal. The incident occurred at dawn on June 6. An church employee discovered damaged vestments, the tabernacle profaned, and money theft, around 4.30 am (local time).

Msgr. Thomas D'Souza, Archbishop of Calcutta, states: "We are saddened by this deplorable act of vandalism and theft. St. Luke's Church is a sacred place, a place of worship. All places of worship must be respected. "

According to the Archbishop, "the churches, of any denomination, must be respected. This act of plundering and vandalism is alarming and painful. I ask everyone to pray and invite our people to keep calm and a spirit of prayer and peace. "

The devastation of the church in West Bengal is the last episode of a long wave of overwhelming and intimidating acts against the Christian minority in India. Only a few weeks ago in Telangana another church, that of Our Lady of Fatima, was targeted by local Hindu extremists who dissected the crucifix and statue of the Virgin Mary.

In Calcutta's case, the motives of the gesture are still unknown, whether it is due to religious contrasts or not. In fact the thieves have not only stolen ancient sacred objects and about 3,000 rupees, the Rev. Kishor Mondal, parish priest of the church, reported that the vandals "have broken the Holy Eucharist. Then they damaged other religious objects, such as the goblet and bronze candles. "

St. Luke's Church dates back to 127 years ago. It is located a few hundred meters from the convent of the Religious of Jesus and Mary, where in 2015 the elderly nun of over 72 was brutally gang raped, in another case of theft. Church authorities have filed a complaint. Nadia's police superintendent, who visited the site of the incident along with the Ranaghat police subordinate has personally taken up the case.

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