To all my my Muslim family and friends,
wishing you happy feast day, "Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri".
All my prayers and unity,
Thursday, 11 September 2008
Day of Fasting and Prayer Brings Wide Response
NEW DELHI, India, SEPT. 9, 2008 (Zenit.org).- The president of the Indian episcopal conference says that the faith of Indian Christians is more important than their lives.Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil, also the Syro-Malabar archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly, made this statement in the context of a continuing wave of violence against Christians in the eastern Indian state of Orissa. The attacks, which intensified at the end of August, have left thousands of Christians homeless and several dead.
The Missionaries of Charity, the sisters of the order founded by Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, are among those who have been victimized, with four missionaries last week being forced to spend a night in jail after being accused of forcing the conversions of four babies who they were taking to a charity center. The babies were taken from the nuns and placed in a government ward, despite the fact that the religious had all the necessary documentation for the children.
Cardinal Vithayathil said on Sunday, a day set aside for fasting and prayer for India, that Christians "will continue to protect our faith sacrificing our lives because our faith is more important than our lives."The day of fasting and prayer brought a few hours of respite to Orissa, where police forces guaranteed Christians' protection, according to Babu Joseph, spokesman of the Indian bishops' conference."The Churches were open continually all day; they were filled with faithful from dawn to nightfall and in some cities, silent protests were held on the streets," he said. According to the Fides news agency, the capital of Orissa was the scene of an interreligious meeting with Hindus and Christians jointly speaking out against violence.
In other areas of India, participation in the prayer and fast day was also high. Some 700 people of various religions gathered in Calcutta to pray, sing and meditate, to express concern and solidarity with the victims of the violence. Catholics in New Delhi organized 40 hours of non-stop adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Archbishop Vincent Concessao of New Delhi concelebrated Mass with five priests at Sacred Heart Cathedral to open the adoration on Sept. 5.
On Monday, taking "very serious notice" of the communal violence in Orissa, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh offered an aid package to the families of persons who lost their lives and those who have been rendered destitute by the violence.
Posted by dakunfrancis at 7:15:00 am