ACN News, Thursday, 7th June 2012 – INDIA
India: Archbishop from Orissa sees hope for the future
By Eva-Maria Kolmann
Four years after the severe violence against Christian villages in the East Indian state of Orissa, the Archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar, John Barwa, sees hope for the future. He reported this to the internationalCatholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) during a visit to its international headquarters in Germany. He currently sees no danger of the violence repeating itself to the same extent in his Archdiocese. His work is based above all on good relations with the authorities, the police and the other religious communities.
(Archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar, John Barwa © ACN)
There is much positive news to report. This year alone, he has performed 33 priestly ordinations. “Our faith has grown since the attacks. All the difficulties could not part us from Jesus,” explained the Archbishop, who has been in office since April 2011.
But a great deal of help is still necessary. Numerous churches and houses have been rebuilt, but there is “still much to do“. The “rebuilding of souls” requires a lot of time, Barwa said. Alongside the reconstruction of buildings, pastoral care for traumatised people and disoriented youth, as well as the training and further education of priests, is therefore the top priority. “Thanks to your prayers and your material generosity, we have been able to carry out much rebuilding,” Archbishop Barwa said. But the Church in his
Archdiocese will continue to need assistance from ACN, and is firmly counting on it.
The territory of the state of Orissa includes five Catholic dioceses. The attacks by fundamentalist Hindus, which began at Christmas 2007 and reached their climax in August 2008, cost some 100 lives. 50,000 Christians were driven out, and nearly 5,000 houses and numerous churches and ecclesiastical buildings were destroyed. The area most seriously affected by the violence was the Khandamal District in the Cuttack-Bhubaneswar Archdiocese.
Directly under the Holy See, Aid to the Church in Need supports the faithful wherever they are persecuted, oppressed or in pastoral need. ACN is a Catholic charity – helping to bring Christ to the world through prayer, information and action.
The charity undertakes thousands of projects every year including providing transport for clergy and lay Church workers, construction of church buildings, funding for priests and nuns and help to train seminarians. Since the initiative’s launch in 1979, Aid to the Church in Need’s Child’s Bible – God Speaks to his Children has been translated into 162 languages and 48 million copies have been distributed all over the world.
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