04/28/2011, 00.00
NEPAL
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At Easter Mass in Kathmandu, thousands remember victims of Hindu extremism

by Kalpit Parajuli
Many non-Christians took part in the service as well. Nine boys were baptised in Kathmandu’s heavily protected cathedral. “Few attacks against Catholics won't discourage our work;” instead, “we shall serve God with greater energy,” Mgr Sharma said.
Kathmandu (AsiaNews) – More than 1,500 people, including many non-Catholics, took part in Easter celebration in Kathmandu’s Assumption church, which was heavily protected against possible attacks from Hindu extremists. During the Mass, nine boys were baptised.

In his homily, Mgr Anthony Sharma, archbishop of Kathmandu, mentioned the sacrifice of those who died in the terror attack against Kathmandu’s cathedral in 2009 and the murder of Fr John Prakash, killed by Hindu radicals in 2008.

“Jesus sacrificed himself for all humanity. He was never discouraged by any attack against him. Similarly, a few attacks against Catholics won't discourage our work for we shall serve God with greater energy,” the bishop said.

The victims of persecution have provided Nepal’s small Church an opportunity to make its presence felt around the world, Mgr Sharma explained. This has forced the government to adopt policies to protect religious minorities.

Since the fall of the Hindu monarchy in 2006 and the establishment of a secular state, Nepali Christians have enjoyed greater freedom of worship and expression.

For years, the number of Christians has been steadily rising. Currently, they are estimated to be around two million.

Even the small Catholic community has seen its ranks swell with new members, up to about 9,000.

The Catholic Church is actively involved in education and runs 31 schools, eight in Kathmandu alone, employing about 65 priests, 17 men religious and more than 160 nuns.

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