08/25/2016, 13.16
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For Card Gracias, the victims of Kandhamal can be raised on the altar of martyrs

by card. Oswald Gracias*

The archbishop of Mumbai issued a message for the memorial day on 30 August. This year the fiercest anti-Christian violence by Hindu radicals will be commemorated. "May their blood suffering bring many fruits to the Church in Odisha”.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) – Card Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Mumbai and president of the Latin Bishops in India (CCBI), said that he hopes to see the victims of the anti-Christian pogroms in Kandhamal in 2008 "may soon be raised on the altar of the martyrs".

The prelate to spoke to AsiaNews a few days before the first memorial day dedicated to the victims on 30 August. The Church in India continues to call for full justice and proper compensation for those who survived the fiercest persecution of Christians to have ever struck in the country.

The Supreme Court accepted the request for appeal by the late Mgr Raphael Cheenath, archbishop emeritus of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar, who with tireless commitment managed to gain more compensation for damaged properties. Mgr John Barwa, the current archbishop of Odisha, has continued his predecessor’s fight for compensation for the hundreds of churches, monasteries and places of worship destroyed by the fury of the Hindu radicals. The cardinal’s message follows.

The Church in India stands in prayerful solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Odisha. It has been eight years since the horrific attack on our Khandhamal Christians, and the Indian Church suffers the painful anguish of the orchestrated communal violence. We continue to seek justice for survivors and victims.

At the National Eucharistic Congress held in the Archdiocese of Bombay last November, we shared the pain of a weeping Kanak Rekha Nayak, wife of Parikhit Nayak, one of the victims of Kandhamal. The assembly requested that they may soon be declared martyrs. May they soon be raised to the altar as martyrs.

Just last week, in the Archdiocese of Bombay, a funeral was held for Archbishop Cheenath, archbishop emeritus of Cuttack Bhubaneswar, Archbishop John, after thanking his predecessor, who during the in the time of Kandhamal riots, with courage and clarity stood for justice and accompanied the victims of communal violence with sympathy and dignity.

Archbishop John Barwa also brought a letter sent by Sr Meena Barwa, the nun who suffered a grave violation at that time. Our heart and prayers are with you Sr Meena and all our people.

We thank Jesus for their powerful witness of faith and may their blood suffering bring many fruits to the Church in Odisha and India.

In this Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, we pray for the healing of our wounds and that Our Merciful Father may bless our country with peace, social justice, reconciliation, harmony and fraternity in our society for the building of our beloved nation."

God Bless India.

* Archbishop of Mumbai and president of the Latin Bishops in India (CCBI)

(Nirmala Carvalho contributed to this article)

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