07/03/2023, 18.03
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Dioceses across India hold prayers for peace in Manipur

by Nirmala Carvalho

The Bishops' Conference called on Catholics to hold a day of prayer and solidarity for the victims of the violence that has torn the north-eastern state for two months. To this end, eucharistic adorations, human chains and torchlight processions were held to spur the Indian government to act.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) – Churches across India joined an appeal by the of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) to observe a day of prayer and solidarity on 2 July, yesterday, for the victims of the violence that has been tearing apart the north-eastern state of Manipur for the past two months.

The observance was held a day before the feast of Saint Thomas (Yashu Bhakti Divas), which falls today and has been celebrated for the past few years as Indian Christian Day.

In Tamil Nadu, many parishes in the Archdiocese of Pondicherry-Cuddalore held services, torchlight processions, and rallies in favour of peace and harmony to Manipur.

Participants also expressed their disappointment at the lack of proper action by the Union (federal) government to stop the wave of violence.

While different ethnic groups are pitted against one another, it is sad to see so many Christians targeted and churches torched.

Archbishop Francis Kalist of Pondicherry-Cuddalore announced a special fundraiser for the people of Manipur, where tens of thousands of people have been displaced. The money raised will go to Caritas India which is supporting initiatives put in place by the Diocese of Imphal.

Fr. Raj, rector at Our Lady of Pedryanayagi shrine in Konankuppam, spoke to AsiaNews about it.

“In Konankuppam shrine, human chain and prayers were held after Sunday Mass,” he said. “Women and men participated, pledging to maintain peace and harmony in the country.”

From Odisha, a state where anti-Christian pogroms took place in 2008, Archbishop John Barwa of Cuttack Bhubaneswar also spoke to AsiaNews.

“In our diocese we held an adoration and we are doing collections to send them,” he explained.

“Our people feel the pain and suffering of the people in Manipur,” he added, for “they know the trauma of hiding in forests, seeing their houses and churches destroyed, and experiencing the sufferings of living in refugee camps.”

He goes on to say, “We are united in prayer and solidarity with the suffering people of Manipur hoping that they can be a balm for their wounds.”

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