Odisha prelate calls for prayer for persecuted Christians

February 26, 2017 by  
Filed under India, newsletter-india

Bhubaneswar, February 25, 2017: The head of the Catholic Church in Odisha has urged his people to pray during lent for Christians persecuted in various parts of the world, especially in his eastern Indian state.

“Lent is a time when Christians observe a period of fasting, repentance, moderation, self-denial and spiritual discipline. The purpose is to set aside time for reflection on Jesus — his suffering, his sacrifice, his life, death, burial and resurrection,” said Archbishop John Barwa of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar.

The Church sets aside 40 days before Easter, which falls on April 17 this year, as Lenten season.

“The persecuted Christians of different parts of India, especially of Kandhamal, need constant prayer and support from everyone, more specially in the time of lent of 2017,” the Divine prelate said in his Lenten message to his people.

Kandhamal, a district in Odisha, witnessed the worst anti-Christian violence in modern India. Some 100 people were killed and more than 56,000 lost their homes during the violence triggered by the murder of a Hindu religious leader. Hindu radical groups blamed Christians for the crime, even after Maoists owned it up.

Archbishop Barwa said memories of the violence continue to haunt the people of Kandhamal.

The prelate also prays that every Christian experience God’s love so that they can transmit it to their neighbors, especially the most needy and suffering.

“Only in this way will we be able to participate fully in the joy of Easter,” he asserted.

Even Pope Francis’ prayer intention for March also focuses on persecuted Christians. “That persecuted Christians may be supported by the prayers and material help of the whole Church,” the Pope prays.

Kanaka Rekha Nayak, a widow and survivor in Kandhamal, welcomes the Church officials request for prayers. “Constant prayer can give me great strength to go ahead in my life,” stated the woman, whose husband Parikhita was burnt alive in front of her.

– matters india

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