Bhubaneswar (Agenzia Fides) - 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 displaced. 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 Mission (CM).
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 Cuttack-Bhubaneswar. "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. (PA-SD) (Agenzia Fides 13/12/2016)