07/15/2008, 00.00
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Inter-faith prayer to honour the memory of Father Prakash, Nepali martyr

by Kalpit Parajuli
The leaders of the country’s main religions condemn the murder of the Catholic priest, the first martyr of the Nepali Church. They urge the faithful to follow the path laid down by the missionary, working for the poor and promoting a dialogue among religions.
Kathmandu (AsiaNews) – It is with a spirit moved by sorrow and bewilderment but also by a great awareness that the Catholic priest’s work will continue to bear fruit, sensitive to the needy and in open and straightforward dialogue with other religions, that a inter-faith ceremony was held yesterday in the auditorium of the St Francis Xavier School in Jawalakhel to commemorate Fr Prakash Moyalan who was killed on 1 July by a group of four gunmen.

Organised by the Nepal Catholic Samaj the prayer vigil was attended by the leaders of the main religions present in the country (Catholic, Protestant, Buddhist, Hindu and Muslim) as well as some 800 faithful who sought to express their affection and sincere gratitude to Father Prakash and his indefatigable work for the entire Christian community.

During the function they condemned the murder of the Catholic priest, calling it “a brutal act”. Together they raised a common prayer to honour his memory.

Mgr Anthony Sharma, apostolic vicar to Nepal, spoke about Father Prakash’s “good deeds”, whilst Fr Benjamin Pampackel, superior of the Salesians of Don Bosco in Nepal, stressed his constant “commitment to his service to the poor’’ noting that “he never complained about his work.

Indira Manandhar, a member of the Inter-Religious Council of Nepal, said that the murderers acted “like animals”.

Keshav Chaulagain, secretary of Inter-Religious Council of Nepal, expressed solidarity to the country’s Catholic community, so much tried by this tragedy, calling on all religions to unequivocally condemn the act.

Damodar Gautam, chairman of the World Hindu Federation-Nepal, said that “the work of the late Catholic priest should encourage us all and let us all try to understand each other well, irrespective of religion, and move ahead” for the good of the country and its people.

Born in the Indian state of Kerala, Fr John Prakash came to Nepal more than ten years ago. He was the principal at the Don Bosco School and lived with two other Salesians in a house near the school.

He was involved in several activities and had launched initiatives in favour of the poor, women and children.

Last 1 July four gunmen stormed his home, asking for money. He handed them everything he had but was rewarded with three bullets that mortally wounded him.

His still unidentified assassins also set off a home-made explosive device inside the house before they ran from the building leaving no trace behind.

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