12/27/2021, 12.45
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Statue of the Redeemer destroyed in an attack late on Christmas day in Haryana

by Nirmala Carvalho

A church in Ambala was targeted. On 25 December, thousands of people of all faiths visited the church to see the nativity scene. The “wooden manger in which the Prince of Peace was born was already a sign of his crucifixion,” said Bishop Mascarenhas. “Now we see the same sign in Ambala as well.”

New Delhi (AsiaNews) – The Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Ambala, in the Indian state of Haryana, suffered an act of vandalism late on Christmas day.

The church, a historic building dating back to 1843, was closed in the evening, before the curfew imposed on the area following the latest COVID-19 wave. It was found desecrated the next morning with its big statue of Christ broken.

A First Information Report (FIR) was filed with the police against two unidentified young men who were caught by surveillance cameras climbing over the surrounding wall and trying to get inside the church without success.

“On Christmas day, thousands of people of all faiths came to visit the nativity scene in the church,” said Bishop Ignatius Loyola Mascarenhas of Simla-Chandigarh, speaking to AsiaNews. “The church was closed at 10.30 pm because of the 11 pm curfew. We woke up to find the statue of the Redeemer in pieces and a few broken lights.”

“Yesterday afternoon, I presided over a reparation service during which I reminded the faithful that the wooden manger in which the Prince of Peace was born was already a sign of his crucifixion,” the prelate added.

For the latter, “This octave of Christmas reminds us of the feasts of martyrs such as Stephen, John and the Holy Innocents. Now we see the same sign in Ambala as well. We are deeply saddened, but we remember the words of Jesus on the cross: ‘Father, forgive them'.”

The Holy Redeemer Church “is one of our earliest foundations in India,” Fr Ivel Mendanha, provincial superior of the Redemptorists told AsiaNews.

“In this time of light and love we feel hurt by this gesture. However, as witnesses of the Redeemer, we shall not give in to violence but will strive to offer our forgiveness and build bridges to share the love of Jesus.”

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