Indian Catholic faithful praying in a church. Indian Catholic faithful praying in a church.   (ANSA)

India: New Marian shrine opens in former refuge

Indian Christians celebrate the opening of a new shrine dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima in the Diocese of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar – a site where many took refuge during a flare-up of anti-Christian violence in 2008.

By Zeus Legaspi

More than 5,000 Christians in the Indian state of Odisha celebrated the feast of Our Lady of Fatima with the opening of a new shrine.

The Catholic village of Sugadabadi celebrated the opening of the shrine with dances, songs, hymns, and prayers.

Father Pradosh Chandran Nayak, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar, blessed the site, saying that "the celebration of the feast of Our Lady of Fatima in this new shrine reveals our faith in God and the powerful intercession of Mary."

Set against the backdrop of past horrors, he said the shrine serves as a “source of great joy” for the local community of Sugadabadi.

Residents point out that they were safe at the height of the violence because the Virgin Mary protected them from fundamentalists and persecutors.

Bijay Mallick, a local Catholic, said the Virgin Mary “is stronger than the threats of Hindu fundamentalists.”

“By praying here, we find peace of soul, light, comfort, and a way forward. God is one, but His ways are many. We need each other, despite our religious differences,” said Jharana Pradhan, a volunteer who helped in the shrine’s construction.

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17 May 2023, 13:09