12/14/2012, 00.00
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Body of Msgr. Ambrose Madtha, Papal Nuncio in Ivory Coast, returns to Karnataka

by Nirmala Carvalho
The funeral will be held tomorrow in his native parish, in Belthangady. The nuncio died on 8 December in a car accident. For the archbishop of Mangalore, his funeral will be a "powerful instrument of evangelization," so that "the Year of Faith encourages us to return to an authentic faith."

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - This body of Msgr. Ambrose Madtha, Papal Nuncio in Ivory Coast, returned to India this morning.  The Archbishop died in a car accident on December 8 last year. He was returning from the celebrations for the Immaculate Conception, when the car he was travelling in was hit by another vehicle Upon arrival, the body was taken to the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary, where this afternoon Mgr. Aloysius Paul D'Souza, Archbishop of Mangalore (Karnataka), will celebrate a mass in his honor. "His funeral - Msgr. D'Souza told AsiaNews - will be a powerful instrument of evangelization". It will be held tomorrow morning in his home parish, the Church of the Holy Redeemer in Belthangady, about 60 km from Mangalore.

The body arrived in India with a special flight organized by the President of Ivory Coast. The delegation accompanying it was led by the Ivorian Minister of Foreign Affairs Charles Koffi Diby, who will attend the funeral with his colleague Anne Desirée Ouloto, Minister of Social Affairs, President of the Ivorian Episcopal Conference Msgr. Alexis Touabli Youlo and the Archbishop of Abidjan, Msgr. Jean-Pierre Kutwa.

According to Msgr. D'Souza, "for our people, for many other religions the flowers, incense, the psalms and the Eucharist will be a living testimony of respect for the deceased, as we await the resurrection of the body, and our faith in the Risen Christ. " In fact, says the archbishop, "even though we are devastated by this tragic loss of a beloved son of Karnataka, the Year of Faith encourages us to call up an authentic faith in the mystery of His death and resurrection."

The Archbishop of Mangalore adds that "the funeral of Msgr. Madtha will show all people of good will of Karnataka that the resurrection of Jesus can illuminate human existence: this too is the new evangelization." And the small village of Belthangady "home to thousands of Christians of various denominations and non-Christians, will also be a message that people are not enemies to each other. We have also invited the local representative of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP nationalists Hindu)".

Born in 1955 in Belthangady, Karnataka, Msgr. Ambrose Madtha studied at St. Charles Seminary, Nagpur, and holds a doctorate in Canon Law at the Pontifical Urbanianum University in Rome. Ordained a priest in 1982, from 2003 to 2008 he served as chargé d'affaires of the Vatican in Taiwan. In 2008 he arrived in Ivory Coast as papal nuncio. Local people remember him as a great peacemaker, especially during the political crisis of 2010-2011.


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