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

Unofficial council orders two sisters to be raped and paraded naked for brother's actions in India Watch

Image of An Indian woman is one of many protesters against rape.

By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

There is an ongoing rape crisis in India and things are only getting worse. An unelected council of elders ordered the rape and public humiliation of Meenakshi Kumari, 23, and her 15-year-old sister because their brother dared to marry outside his status. LOS ANGELES, ... continue reading


Chinese man without arms tends to paralyzed mother - feeding her food with spoon in teeth Watch

Image of Forty-eight-year-old Chen Xinyin from Chongqing, southwest China lost both his arms at seven years of age. Putting in a full day's worth of work, he know tends to his paralyzed, elderly mother - by feeding her with a spoon clenched in his teeth.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Forty-eight-year-old Chen Xinyin from Chongqing, southwest China lost both his arms at seven years of age. Putting in a full day's worth of work, he know tends to his paralyzed, elderly mother - by feeding her with a spoon clenched in his teeth. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


'I knew then my life was over': The heartbreaking reality for teen rape victims shamed in India Watch

Image of

By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Indian women suffer as rapists force families to accept money in exchange for silence. In many villages, women are blamed for being raped and men do not marry single mothers, as such women are seen as shameful. Without time to finish their educations, and beaten down ... continue reading


North Korean submarines suspiciously missing following the dissolution of standoff with South Korea Watch

Image of Prime Minister Kin Jong Un.

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A few days after Kim Jong Un ended a stand-off with South Korea, 50 North Korean submarines were reported to have vanished from radar. A possible surprise attack from the North is expected. MUNTINLUPA CITY, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - The North Korean submarines ... continue reading


Family mourns loss of newborn after it is attack by rats in hospital Watch

Image of Rat infestation in Indian hospital leads to gruesome newborn death.

By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A newborn died of rat bites in a government-ran hospital in the city of Vajayawada, located within the state of Andhra Pradesh, India. Los Angeles, California (Catholic Online) - The newborn boy was born in the government-ran hospital where he was sent to the pediatric ... continue reading


1,500-year-old mummified newborn uncovered in Siberia could provide insight into ancient Siberian life Watch

Image of A newborn mummy discovered in Siberia.

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The remains of a newborn that was accidentally mummified 1500 years ago has been discovered in an ancient grave in Siberia. This discovery could lead to the unraveling of several mysteries concerning ancient Siberians. MUNTINLUPA CITY, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


15-year-old girl forced to marry 32-year-old man: The life of Bangladeshi child brides can be full of violence and abuse Watch

Image of

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Weddings are supposed to be one of the most memorable moments in a woman's lifetime. But for 15-year-old Nasoin Akhter it was nothing but loneliness. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - Akhter was coerced into marriage with a 32-year-old man. In her wedding ... continue reading


Final Attack Operation: Kim Jong Un prepared North Korea military for battle Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Although the peninsula is technically still engaged in war, alarm and concern was raised in the region and other parts of the world after a report that North Korea's supreme leader Kim Jong Un convened with the country's senior party and defense officials. MUNTINLUPA, ... continue reading


Welcome to Beidaihe - the Chinese seaside resort town where leaders meet to plot world domination Watch

Image of The Chinese government's meetings in Beidaihe are never formally announced. The only clear indication that political and governmental activity is afoot is when soldiers of the People's Liberation Army appear on the streets.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Known for its gentle ocean breezes, seafood, beaches, and fun activities, the Chinese seaside resort town of Beidaihe is very popular with tourists. Families and young people gather there in the summer months for fun in the sun. Bedidaihe is also very popular with ... continue reading


Relations between China and the Holy See move forward with recognition of seminary studies, students Watch

Image of Diplomatic relations between the Holy See and China were cut in 1951, two years after the Chinese Communist party seized power.

By Andrea Gagliarducci, CNA/EWTN News

In a tiny victory for Vatican-Chinese rapprochement, China's government now recognizes seminary studies and allows seminarians to continue their education in a state university should they leave. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - The Bachelor of Arts diploma young ... 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, First Thessalonians 5:1-6, 9-11
1 About times and dates, brothers, there is no need ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 1st, 2015 Image

St. Giles, Abbot
September 1: St. Giles, Abbot (Patron of Physically Disabled) Feast day - ... 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