Bhubaneswar: With the ordination of two deacons on April 20, a village in Kandhamal district has 12 Catholic priests, the highest for any place in Odisha state in eastern India.
Divine Word Archbishop John Barwa of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar ordained deacons Pritam Singh and Bhanja Kishore Singh at Our Lady of Lourds Parish, Bamunigam. More than 1,000 Catholics, 35 priests and 50 nuns attended the ceremony.
Deacon Pritam belongs to the Varanasi province of the Indian Missionary Society deacon while Deacon Bhanja Kishore Singh is for Cuttack-Bhubaneswar Archdiocese.
Thereligious priest hails from Alanjuri,one of the mission stations of Bamunigam parish. It has now six diocesan and six religious priests. There are also 12 religious sisters from the same village.
The archdiocesan priest comes from Kottama parish of Berhampur diocese.
The ordinations took place when the Odisha Church plans to celebrate the birth centenary of the first diocesan priest from the state, Pascal Singh. He also hailed from the same village. He founded Cambridge School at Cuttack and Vijay High School at Raikia in Kandhamal district and reaching into heights Technical High School in Gamjam district.
“He offered himself to work for the marginalized communities along with his own brother priest. They were two brother priests and no other siblings in the family. They remain source of inspiration for us all. We are going to commemorate his birth centenary celebration. They were visionaries. They built a few schools,” Father Ajaya Kumar Singh, who coordinates social work activities in Odisha, told Matters India.
“We are quite pleased to know that there are largest number of priests in Odisha state happens to be from our village. It is a joy to note that the first diocesan priest in Odisha happens to be from our village,” Father Singh added.