Victims of Orissa Massacres confirm faith

candlelight procession to carry the light of Christ among the local people of Kandmahal

“The faith is spreading, the number of Christians is increasing, vocations to the priesthood and the religious life are flourishing in Kandhamal, India”, said Fr. Cassian Parichha, a retired priest, 82 years, former parish priest of Our Lady of Charity parish in Raikia, Kandhamal.

A fortnight ago, feast of Christ the King thousands of faithful gathered for a mass on the occassion of the feast of Christ the King in this city in Orissa State and also commemorated the foundation jubilee of Our Lady of Charity parish. The mass and ceremony were presided by Archbishop John Barwa.

Kandhamal, since 2008, was theatre for repeated massacres perpetrated by Hindu extremists in a campaign of ethnic cleansing of Christians.  It is estimated that more than 100 people were killed and another 56,000 had to flee their homes in the last ten years.

In his homily, Archbishop Barwa said that the last 60 years walking in the faith mark a milestone for the survivors of Kandhamal, subjected to anti-christian violence since 2008. Christ the King and Prince of Peace walked with these innocent people through these 60 years who’s strong faith is reconized and valued by everyone. “Your are a source of inspiration and witness to Jesus Christ in India” added the bishop.

“Christ is the King of peace, truth, and fraternal love and brotherhood”, the faithful sang.

Fr Pradosh Chandra Nayak, present parish priest and vicar general of the archdiocese said that the people of his parish thanked God, particularly for the missionaries, the bishops and the priests who served their community and also thanked in a special way the 100 people who in 2008 gave their lives for their faith in Jesus Christ”.

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.