Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Nirmala Carvalho

10/30/2008 (6 years ago)

Asia News (www.asianews.it/)

His final commitment culminated in a "kenosis" of total surrender, he was completely immersed in the Passion of our Crucified Lord.

Highlights

By Nirmala Carvalho

Asia News (www.asianews.it/)

10/30/2008 (6 years ago)

Published in Asia Pacific


MUMBAI (AsiaNews) - "Fr. Digal was the treasurer of the diocese, an extremely sensitive priest, always considering the needs of other priests before his own, seeking always fraternal communion." This is how Rapheel Cheenath, archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneshwar, remembers Fr. Bernard Digal, who died on the evening of October 28 at St. Thomas Hospital in Chennai.

(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."



Comments


More Asia Pacific

There's always the Sun: Bangladesh takes steps to become the 'first solar nation' Watch

Image of The Bangladeshi government aims to provide electricity to all of the country's households by 2021.

By Pantho Rahaman, Thomson Reuters Foundation

Residents of Islampur, a remote village in the northern Bangladeshi district of Naogaon, were stunned one night last summer when the darkness was suddenly illuminated by electric lights coming from a village home. DHAKA, Bangladesh (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - ... continue reading


Who will win China's war on women? 33 million more men than women in China Watch

Image of China has the largest disparity between men and women; there are 33 million more men than women in China.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

China's ongoing issue with a growing population and a disparity in the numbers between each gender is only getting worse; as 2014 there were 33 million more men in China than women. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - China's longstanding family restrictions and ... continue reading


India turns on Christians; 2014's wave of religious terror leaves many fearing state-sponsored persecution to come Watch

Image of 2014 saw a wave of violence in India as Hindu nationalists targeted Christians. Five people died and thousands were subjected to violence.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Last year was not a great year for Christianity. Persecution and murder were rampant in the Middle East-especially in Syria and Iraq-throughout Africa and even India. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - In 2014, India saw a wave of violence towards Christians that ... continue reading


Death of the red dragon? Why China's economic boom is about to bust Watch

Image of One of China's many ghost towns. Built at the height of a massive real estate boom, many Chinese cities and suburbs now lay empty.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Long the boogie man of the United States and the west, China's economic growth has slammed to a halt, hitting its slowest rate since 1990. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The U.S. needn't be afraid of the lurking threat of Chinese economic hegemony, as the Asian ... continue reading


How did President Obama know North Korea was behind the Sony hack? Because we hacked them first! Watch

Image of Access to the Internet is highly limited in North Korea, and only a select few individuals of high rank in the Communist party may access it unfiltered and restricted.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Many Internet security experts and firms were quick to question President Barack Obama's claim that North Korea was behind the hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment in December of 2014, especially so soon after the hacks took place. But the New York Times has ... continue reading


Barbarically appalling death penalty executions revived in Indonesia, starting with two female drug smugglers Watch

Image of Hurting from drug use, Indonesia begins executing death row drug smugglers.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Six drug smugglers were shot dead by firing squads in Indonesia, Southeast Asia's largest drug market. 40 to 50 people die each day from drugs in Indonesia, according to the National Anti-Narcotic Agency. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Trying to protect the people ... continue reading


In Manilla, Pope Francis condemns mankind for destroying the environment Watch

Image of Pope Francis wore a rain poncho during much of his time in Manila, and left early to avoid an incoming tropic storm.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

There's a new voice speaking out on climate change, as Pope Francis entered the ring, calling on mankind to fulfill the charge they were given by God to steward the world and all of creation. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Pope Francis made his remarks at a ... continue reading


Spread the Reign of Christ Throughout the World! Pope Francis Tells Crowd of 7 Million in the Philippines Watch

Image of May the Santo Nino (Holy Child Jesus) continue to bless the Philippines and may he sustain the Christians of this great nation in their vocation to be witnesses and missionaries of the joy of the Gospel, in Asia and in the whole world.- Pope Francis

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Sometimes, when we see the troubles, difficulties and wrongs all around us, we are tempted to give up. It seems that the promises of the Gospel do not apply; they are unreal. But the Bible tells us that the great threat to God's plan for us is, and always has ... continue reading


Jesus is Lord! He Never Lets Us Down! Evangelical Catholic Pope Francis Speaks to Faithful in Taclobban, Philippines Watch

Image of Pope Francis preaches the Good News in Tacloban, Philippines.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

I've come to tell you that Jesus is Lord, and he never lets us down. Jesus is there, nailed to the cross, and from there he does not let us down. He was consecrated as Lord on that throne and there he experienced all the calamities that we experience. The Lord ... continue reading


Abducted for 24 years! This Chinese family is reunited at last Watch

Image of Sun Bin, reunited with his father Sun Youhong for the first time in 24 years.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A Chinese man who was abducted as a toddler back in 1991 has been reunited with his father after 24 years. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Sun Bin was taken from his father at a market when he was just four-years-old. He was sold to a family in Jiangsu province on ... continue reading


All Asia Pacific News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Hebrews 10:11-18
11 Every priest stands at his duties every day, ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 110:1, 2, 3, 4
1 [Of David Psalm] Yahweh declared to my Lord, 'Take ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 4:1-20
1 Again he began to teach them by the lakeside, but ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for January 28th, 2015 Image

St. Thomas Aquinas
January 28: St. Thomas Aquinas, priest and doctor of the Church, patron of ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter