Indian Church Remembers Fr. Bernard Digal, Martyr
His final commitment culminated in a "kenosis" of total surrender, he was completely immersed in the Passion of our Crucified Lord.
(Proud to be Catholic? Show Your Support Right Now! Virtual Vigil of Prayer and Solidarity for the Persecuted Church in India. Please Sign the 'Catholic Action' Petition!)
Fr. Digal was attacked by a group of Hindu fundamentalists on the night of August 25, in the first days of persecution against the Christians of Orissa. In spite of the medical treatment he received, his health continued to worsen. On Saturday, October 25, he was taken to the hospital of Chennai in Tamil Nadu, where he underwent an operation to remove a blood clot that formed in his brain following his beating by the fundamentalists on the night of the attack. On October 27, his lungs collapsed, and he fell into a serious respiratory crisis, following which he was put on a respirator. He received the anointing of the sick at 9:25 on October 28, in the presence of Archbishop Cheenath, and died.
"Fr. Bernard has been given the martyr's crown, he has received the palm of victory from the saints in heaven," says the archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneshwar. "Ever since the violence against the Christian erupted in December '07, Fr. Bernard hardly ever rested, continously coordinating efforts to rehabilitate the people - through peace initiatives, and providing all assistance to the people to avail of the compensation and seeking all measures to bring the lives of the people derailed by the carnage on track. Fr .Bernard was deeply devoted to the Blessed Mother and the rosary and often shared with us how he sought refugee in the Madonna in moments of despair.
"The Kandhamal Chrsitains now have a powerful intercessor in heaven, Fr. Bernard will now continue his work for our people from his heavenly home. His final commitment culminated in a kenosis of total surrender, he was completely immersed in the Passion of our Crucified Lord, and now we hope in the glory of the Ressurection. Our belief in the victory won by the resurrected Christ is reason for hope - the hope that heaven lies beyond death."
Fr. Bernard met with AsiaNews last September 10, during his convalescence at Holy Spirit Hospital in Mumbai (see photo). He was 48 years old, and was ordained on May 29, 1992. He was a native of the village of Tiangia in Kandhamal, one of the areas most severely affected by the recent anti-Christian violence perpetrated by Hindu fundamentalists. He recounted the dramatic moments of the attack, following which "for an entire night, he remained unconscious and half naked in the forest." His funeral will be celebrated tomorrow, Thursday, October 30.
Fr. Ajay Singh, director of the Jan Vikas, a social assistance center of the diocese of Cuttack-Bhubaneshwar, recalls the "holiness" of Fr. Digal, his "missionary zeal," his "service to the people," his words of "forgiveness" toward those responsible for the violence, and his constant work aimed at "their rehabilitation." Fr. Manoj Digal, a cousin of the victim and a native of the same village, recalls that "since December, Fr. Bernard worked tirelessly with the Kandhamal Christians who were suffering violence and humiliation, His virtues of humility, forgiveness, inherent justice, goodness and self-sacrificing love will nourish the faith of our people."
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Asia Pacific News
- Savage and Deadly, Cyclone Mahasen batters Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, moves into India
- Indian families go to drastic measures to protect daughters from rape
- Organ Trafficking: Indian family says their young daughter was killed for organ harvesting
- NK's Kim Jong-Un appoints THIRD army chief in less than two years
- Astonishing miracle in the heinous Bangladesh building collapse: 'God is so merciful!'
- Children as young as five years old forced to work in India's coal mines
- China deals major financial blow to Kim Jong Un
- Five killed in sharp, violent volcanic eruption in the Philippines
- World's most bizzare border dispute baffles Asian nuclear superpowers
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?