India: Archbishop from Orissa sees hope for the future
The Archbishop of Cuttack, sees hope for the future in Orissa, “Our faith has grown since the attacks. All the difficulties could not part us from Jesus.” The bishop also says the he sees no danger of the violence repeating itself. We would not necessarily agree with that statement, though we hope that nothing as devastating as the attacks four years ago will happen again.
By Eva-Maria Kolmann
6/07/2012 India (ACN)– 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 international Catholic 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.
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.