Kandhmal district in the Indian state of Orissa, which was the scene of the anti-Christian massacres of 2008, welcomed two new priests at the end of the Jubilee Year.
As reported to Fides, more than three thousand
faithful, together with priests and nuns, attended the solemn rite of
priestly ordination, held on December 12 and chaired by Bishop Aplinar
Senapati, who heads the diocese of Rayagada.
The Bishop ordained the two
priests - Balabanth Ranasingh Munib Pradhan, both born in Kandhamal
district, the epicenter of the wave of persecution that hit the local
Christian community in 2008, causing a hundred dead and over 50 thousand
The celebration was held in the church of Our Lady of
Charity in Raikia, about 250 km from Bhubaneswar, capital of Orissa.
Both the new priests are religious and belong to the Congregation of the
In his homily, the Bishop recalled that "priesthood is not a job but a
vocation to serve the people for the greater glory of God". In addition
the charism of the Vincentian congregation, he said, "is nothing but
love and service to others".
"In our time, to accept the call and say yes to priestly life is a
challenge. Prayer is very important. People love priests and have
confidence in them", said to Fides Father Augustine Singh, a
psychologist and counselor of the archdiocese of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar.
"Kandhamal has been blessed by the Lord. In spite of the social,
economic and religious problems people have great faith in God and the
visible fruits are the many vocation to priesthood and religious life.
Christian families also have the desire to contribute to the growth of
Church, offering their children to the Lord", said Father Singh, also a
native of Kandhamal.
Last April the community had welcomed two other priests in the parish of
Our Lady of Lourdes. Mgr. John Barwa, Archbishop of
Cuttack-Bhubaneswar, ordained Fr. Pritam Singh and Fr. Bhanja Kishore
Singh, in a ceremony celebrated in the presence of more than a thousand
faithful. Fr. Pritam belongs to the Indian Missionary Society of
Varanasi province, while Fr. Kishore Singh is from the Archdiocese of
"The presence of the new priests testifies that
persecution has not stopped faith and the action of the Holy Spirit is
alive in the hearts of the faithful", said the Bishop.