A touching profession of faith reaches us from Indian Christians in Kandhamal district, Orissa State, where repeated massacres committed by Hindu extremists since 2008, crimes of authentic ethnic cleansing against Christians, left 100 dead and 56,000 displaced. Local sources told Fides News Agency that some 5,000 faithful gathered for a thanksgiving Mass on the occasion of the feast of Christ the King combined with the foundation Jubilee of Our Lady of Charity parish in Raikia, Kandhamal district, warmly welcoming Archbishop John Barwa, SVD, of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar diocese who presided.
“These sixty years of walking in the faith mark a milestone for the survivors of Kandhamal, subjected to antichristian violence since 2008”, Mons. John said in his homily. “Christ, the King of Kings and the Prince of Peace, has walked with the innocent people of Kandhamal through these 60 years. Today everyone recognizes and values the strong faith of the people of Kandhamal, a source of inspiration and witness to Jesus Christ in India” the Archbishop added.
“The faith is spreading, the number of Christians is increasing, vocations to the priesthood and the religious life are flourishing in Kandhamal”, Fides was told by retired priest Fr Cassian Parichha, aged 82, former parish priest of Our Lady of Charity parish in Raikia, Kandhamal.
“Christ is the King of peace, truth, and fraternal love and brotherhood”, the faithful sang. “The people of Kandhamal thanked God especially for the missionaries, the bishops and the priests who have served this community and in a special way the 100 people who in 2008 gave their lives for their faith in Jesus Christ”, Fides was told by Fr Pradosh Chandra Nayak, present parish priest and vicar general of the archdiocese.
Today the parish has 1,200 Catholic families. Jubilee celebrations culminated with Eucharistic Adoration followed by a candlelight procession to carry the light of Christ among the local people. Participants included numerous Hindu faithful.