Kandhamal district has six new priests, including the first Salesian
Three Capuchin friars were ordained on Saturday; two deacons and Fr Digal, a Salesian, were ordained yesterday. Mgr Barwa, archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneshwar, led both ceremonies. "I want to be a pastor for those who are in need," the Salesian said.
Bhubaneshwar (AsiaNews) – Kandhamal has six new priests, including the first Salesian. The ordinations took place on Saturday and Monday in the presence of Mgr John Barwa, Archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneshwar.
Their consecrations take an even greater significance since Kandhamal is the district in the State of Odisha (Orissa) that saw a pogrom by Hindu radicals against Christians in 2008.
Three Capuchin friars – Fr Tejeswar Badaraito, Fr Pratap Chandra Bishoyi and Fr Liman Nayak – were ordained on Saturday in the Parish of Padre Pio, Simonbadi, in the archdiocese of Cuttack-Bhubaneshwar. About 30 priests, 20 nuns and more than 3,000 Catholics attended the ceremony.
"I thank God for their call to religious life, which occurred in Kandhamal despite persecution and threats,” Fr Chinnu Polisetty, provincial head of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin, told AsiaNews.
“I admire the people of Kandhamal for their deeply rooted and fervent faith in Jesus, which is an inspiration for many to bear witness courageously to the Gospel in modern India, braving the hatred and opposition toward Christians."
Yesterday, Archbishop Barwa also ordained Fr Kumuda Kumar Digal, from the Salesian Order in Kolkata (Calcutta), and two deacons, one diocesan and another one from the Indian Missionary Society (IMS), in the Parish of the Sacred Heart in Kattingia.
These ordinations confirm a trend already visible last year, when several religious were consecrated.
Fr Digal thanks God for becoming the first Salesian ordained in an area that has suffered the most vicious anti-Christian slaughter in India.
"I am humble before God,” he said, “and I seek his guidance to serve poor and abandoned youngsters, because this is the main charisma of the congregation to which I belong."
The Salesian comes from the village of Malebadi, near the city of Daringbadi, and grew up in the Church of Our Lady of the Rosary. He has a brother and three sisters, one of whom took her vows in the Congregation of the Servants of Mary.
In 2004 he entered the seminary in Siliguri, Murshidabad (West Bengal). He later studied philosophy at the Salesian College in Sonada, Darjeeling, and was involved in pastoral work in Kolkata and Bihar.
He graduated in Education Sciences at the Don Bosco College in Tura, Meghalaya, and in theology at Kristu Jyoti College in Bangalore.
"The long education in the seminary has enriched me,” Fr Digal said. “Each phase was a unique experience."
His motto is ‘The Lord is my shepherd’. "I chose it because I really felt on myself the hand of the Lord, the Good Shepherd, which guided me to this point. In return I want to be a pastor for those who are in need."
(Purushottam Nayak contributed to this article)