ROME (SAR NEWS) — The persecution of Christians that kicked off in Orissa August 24 and spread out to 12 other Indian states continues unabated. The unprecedented incidents have brought discredit to the secularist credentials of the country, the world’s largest democracy, drawing upon it the ire of the civilised world.
Christians, who hold the Indian values of ahimsa and tolerance, grapple with the senseless violence heaped on the hapless victims by the rightwing activists.
“Jesus paid for our redemption with his life. There is a price we need to pay for the grace of our discipleship after 2,000 years of faith life in India,” says the Consultor for the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, Father Franco Mulakkel.
According to Father Franco, “St. Alphonsa is telling the martyrs in Orissa that eternal reward is awaiting them, as they are the chosen and privileged ones to bear testimony to the cross for Christ with their very life.”
“Since the time the Church announced the canonisation of Sister Alphonsa, persecution of Christians has increased,” according to 84-year-old Kunjettan (little brother) who participated in the canonisation ceremony of Sister Alphonsa, dressed in his white mundu (loin cloth) and shirt. He founded the Mission League Palai in 1947, a year after Sister Alphonsa’s death, to promote missionary vocation in Kerala.
“These persecutions will continue and spread all over India giving a wake-up call to all of us to the practice of a radical Christianity.”
“The blood of the martyrs is the seed of Christianity,” added the founder-editor of Kunju Missionary (Little Missionary) magazine (estd. 1961), recalling the prophetic words of the Church Fathers.
Speaking on the significance of Sister Alphonsa’s message of embracing the cross of Christ in one’s life, another white mundu and shawl-clad swamiji sporting an unkempt beard, called Sahodaran Aniyan (younger brother) participating at the Rome canonisation ceremony says, “We people don’t want any more the cross (suffering). We only want to glory in the cross.”
He insisted that these persecutions will bring about greater unity in the divided body of Christ (Church denominations and Rites) in India and “purify us of our seeking for comfort, reckless activism and alcoholism.”
In 1991, Sahodaran Aniyan started this Pious Association in Myladumkunnu, Thrissur district, Kerala. His magic remedy to stay off the anti-Christian demonic forces is the practice of “72 hours of adoration of the Holy Eucharist.”