Jalandhar diocese to rebuild village chapel in Kandhamal

November 2, 2016 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Bhubaneswar, November 2, 2016: Jalandhar diocese in Punjab plans to rebuild a village chapel destroyed during anti-Christian violence in Kandhamal district of Odisha, eastern India.

Bishop Franco Mulakkal of Jalandhar evinced interest to rebuild the chapel last month when he came to guide 33 priests from various northeastern Indian dioceses who were on a weeklong mission immersion program in Kandhamal.

The chapel that comens under St. Pauls Church of Balliguda parish in the Cuttack-Bhubaneswar archdiocese were among hundreds of Christian places of worship Hindu militants demolished during violence in 2007 and 2008.

According to the Cuttack-Bhubaneswar Archdiocesan sources, Kandhamal has around 200 villages without chapels or prayer halls. The Balliguda village church was not rebuilt because of lack of funds.

Bishop Mulakkal visited the place during September 15-21 along with Bishop John Thomas Kattrukudiyil of Itanagar who led the priests’ team.

Balliguda parish priest Father Fr. Mukundadev B.Singh said the two guest prelates were impressed by the strong faith of the Kandhamal Christians.

“There are many Catholic villages affected by the violence that do not have churches, some of which are in my parish. The Catholic villages in fact, are in need of church for the common good specifically for the prayer and Sunday worship,” the priest told Matters India.

Fr Singh said the new church would cost an estimated 1.2 million rupees.

He said Bishop Mulakkal showed interest to build new church to one of the Catholic villages of Balliguda Parish.

The priest later wrote to Bishop Mulakkal for funds with the approval of Archbishop John Barwa of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar.

The 2007 and 2008 religious persecution in Kandhamal had left a trail of destruction but it could not affect the faith of the people, the priest said.

At least 100 people were killed and more than 56,000 were displaced during the violence that started on August 24, 2008. It was triggered by the assassination of a Hindu religious leader allegedly by Maoists. Hindu radicals blamed the Church for the death and unleashed the worst violence against Christians in modern India. It lasted for nearly four months.

– matters india

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