Thursday, April 13, 2017

Creeping persecution in India

[My first post in 2017, and my first since September of 2016! A very blessed Holy Thursday to all, especially all my brother priests, and a very blessed Triduum to all.]

This is from an email I sent to brother priests in the United States:

If you would keep the Church in India in your prayers over these holy days, I would be grateful. Intimidation, threats, violence and  persecution break out in more remote parts of the country periodically against the Christian minority. Recently, the ruling Hindu-nationalist coalition (several member parties have public manifestos decrying Christianity as alien to India, and even conducting forcible "re-conversion" campaigns in some parts of the country) won key state elections which has emboldened their anti-Christian stance. Now there are reports of anti-Catholic incidents even in the financial center and megapolis of Bombay (Mumbai). This Holy Week there is a tense atmosphere and increasing fear among the Catholic population of Bombay. 

While this is nothing at all compared to the horrors being faced by our Christian brethren in Syria and Egypt and in the Muslim world, the increasing power of the Hindu nationalist government, and their more radical fringe elements, is of great concern. Your prayers in this holy Triduum are most appreciated. 

A recent Times of India report on the vandalization of a Cross in the suburb of Santa Cruz (named, ironically, for a shrine of the Holy Cross which dates from the Portuguese days in the 16th century):


A message being circulated by a pastor of another suburban Bombay Church. 

"Message from Fr. Clifton, Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Orlem 👇
Please pray in a special way for persecution of all kinds in India, these three days? Lets give it ALL to Jesus.... lets not be distracted by the commercalism of Easter. This morning they put a sandal on the ancient cross in front of Mother Teresa's home in Santa Cruz. The place gets its name "Holy Cross" santa cruz from this cross. And broke the windscreens of cars that had Christian images- statues, rosaries, crucifixes .... its nearer to home now - and we need to intensify our prayers. I am gonna tell everyone to say a Rosary each day for this intention."