By Robin Gomes
After unknown miscreants desecrated a Catholic church in southern India’s Bangalore city, the local archbishop has invited the Catholic community to atone for the profanation of the Body of Christ.
The incident took place in St Francis Assisi Catholic Church, in the suburb of Kengeri. The parish priest, Capuchin Father Sathish Kumar, has filed a complaint with the local police and an investigation is underway.
In a press release, Archbishop Peter Machado of Bangalore said miscreants destroyed, damaged and vandalized the altar and broke open the tabernacle, the most sacred place in a church.
The sacred hosts, the body of Christ, were scattered all over the ground. “It is indeed a great sacrilegious act!” the archbishop said.
“I am deeply disturbed and terribly shocked and also greatly grieved that desecration was done to Lord Jesus Christ who is present in the Holy Eucharist, which is kept in the tabernacle in that church.”
He said the “sacrilege and serious dishonour done to Our Blessed Lord and Saviour is a matter of great concern not only to the parishioners of St Francis Assisi Parish but it also seriously affects the religious sentiments of all of us in the entire Archdiocese, and also all the members of the Catholic community worldwide”.
In such cases, he explained, normally the whole diocese does penance and reparation in the churches and religious houses for such sacrilegious and ignominious deeds.
Archbishop Machado thus requested all the faithful of the archdiocese to observe Friday, January 24, as “a day of reparation to praise, worship and glorify the Eucharistic Lord in a very special way”.
He also called for prayers for those who committed the sacrilegious act.
He asked parish priests and chaplains to expose the Blessed Sacrament for at least 12 hours in all the churches and religious houses of the archdiocese, for public adoration and veneration.
The archbishop expressed confidence that the police and investigators will spare no efforts to bring to book the perpetrators of the “heinous crime” and find out the motive behind the “ignominious deed”.