Arunachal’s young Christian community like that of Apostolic times

July 3, 2012 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Arunachal Pradesh, June 27, 2012: The Church in a diocese of the northeastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh has grown 40% in the last three and a half decades.

According to the local bishop, John Kattrukudiyil of Itanagar, part of the reason for such growth is the number of reports of supernatural healings.

During a visit to the international headquarters of Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need in Koenigstein, Germany, the bishop described the situation in his diocese saying: “Time and time again they tell me story after story of healings that have happened in various places.

“What they tell me fills me with amazement.”

The bishop, whose region of India neighbours China, Bhutan and Burma, added: “I have a lot of theological background in my studies and it’s easy to become skeptical about all these kind of things, but the people are absolutely convinced that they have received healing.”

He told of one healing incident involving a man who renounced a past spent persecuting the Church and converted to marry a Catholic girl.

Bishop Kattrukudiyil said: “After becoming a Catholic the man was asked to go and pray over a paralysed man. He was unwilling but he still went and prayed and the next day that man rose up and walked to the church.

“He was so shocked at this miraculous experience he began to go to church and now today he is a very active member of the parish.”

He went on to describe how these experiences were deepening people’s spiritual lives.

“This is the experience of a very young Church, experiencing the same grace as that of the Church of Apostolic times,” the bishop reflected. “The fact that many people experienced healing by praying to Jesus attracted many people to the Church in its early days – that and a kind of spiritual peace that they got by belonging to the Church.”

Christian missionaries were not able to enter to work until the 1990s when strict entry permit laws were revoked. But in Arunachal Pradesh, the faith spread through Catholic schools in neighboring Assam, who educated some of the local students. These students sought baptism before returning to their villages.

While in many places new Catholics faced beatings, house burnings, the slaughter of domestic animals and expulsion from of jobs or schools, gradually things improved, and no incidents of persecution or harassment have been recorded in the past twenty years, ACN reported.

Bishop Kattrukudiyil said: “Today the church is not tolerated but looked up to for her developmental works in education and health care.

“The politicians use every occasion to praise the Church for her philanthropic activities.”

– CRIB

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