Orissa, 534 confirmations in the persecuted Church of Kandhamal
Three Confirmation ceremonies were held in the district. In 2008, the Indian state was the scene of the most violent anti-Christian pogroms. 175 young people confirmed in the parish of St. Peter of Pobingia; 88 other young people in the parish of Saint Sebastian in Saramuli; 271 young people from the parish of St. Joseph of Godapur.
Cuttack-Bhubaneswar (AsiaNews) - The persecuted Church of Kandhamal, in Orissa, has 534 Christians confirmed in the faith. Last week, three ceremonies took place in the district that in 2008 witnessed the most ferocious anti-Christian persecution in India. To officiate them, Msgr. John Barwa, archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar. The presence of so many confirmations shows that the Christian faith does not waver in the Indian state, despite threats and violence.
The first ceremony took place on January 18 in the parish of St. Peter of Pobingia. The archbishop has confirmed 175 young people. For the church, destroyed in August 2008 by Hindu radicals, the event takes on an important significance. The extremists wanted to eliminate the Christian presence from this village, and instead the followers of Christ continue to increase.
On January 20, the day of the liturgical memorial of St. Sebastian, the second ceremony took place in Saramuli, in the farthest parish of the diocese dedicated to the saint. Here the archbishop confirmed 88 young people, in the presence of 3,000 faithful, four priests and six Missionaries of charity. During the homily, Msgr. Barwa said: "Saint Sebastian was killed with bows and arrows for his fidelity to Jesus Christ. Our faith is strengthened in its sacrifice. May he intercede and pray for us today, [so that we may] be courageous enough to bear witness to Jesus unto death. " Then he added: "You are full of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Your behavior matters, your way of life must be an example for others ".
Reena Baliarsingh, one of the adolescents who received the sacrament of Confirmation, says: "I am grateful to God for having blessed me with the gifts of the Holy Spirit". Puspolota Bagsingh, mother of a young woman, says: "Through confirmation, my daughter will become more mature and stronger".
Finally, on 21 January, Msgr. Barwa has confirmed another 271 boys from the parish of St. Joseph of Godapur. About 4 thousand faithful, three priests and seven nuns were present. Fr Praful Sobhapati, the parish priest, warmly welcomed “the archbishop, the priests, the sisters and all the participants". Marisha Uthansingh, among the confirmed girls, reports: "I am happy to realize the gifts of the Spirit". Then her father Sushil Unthansingh reiterated that "from now on my daughter's behavior will be purified by the Holy Spirit".