Story – Matters India: Two Capuchin Franciscan friars were ordained on February 8 by His Exc. Mgr John Barwa in the district of Kandhamal, which had seen horrific anti-Christian violence in 2008.
“A gift and a blessing, in the Year of Mercy”: is how the Archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar, in Orissa, His Exc. Mgr. John Barwa described the two new priests. As Fides learns, the two Capuchin Franciscan friars: Fr. Bonifacio Kanhar OFMCap and Fr. Chandulal Baliarsingh OFM Cap, were ordained by Mgr. Barwa on February 8 in Simon Badi, in Kandhamal district, which is part of the diocese of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar.
The new priests belong to the Capuchin province of Andhra-Orissa. The ordination celebration was attended by about 50 priests and more than 1,500 faithful, Vatican radio reported.
Archbishop Barwa said that “we are all called to be instruments of the mercy of God. Even Fr. Kanhar and Fr. Baliarsingh and their families were affected by the violence. Their reaction was mercy”.
“I thank God for the gift of the priesthood for me and for the Church”, said Father Kanhar remembering the difficult times of persecution in 2008. His younger sister is a nun of St. Joseph of Annecy and one of their uncles is a priest of the diocese of Cuttack -Bhubaneswar.
“We thank our parents, family members and the priests who encouraged us to follow this vocation over the years. We ask everyone to pray for us, so that we can serve God and the Church with mercy” said Father Boliarsingh.
Both the new priests come from the territory of Kandhamal, where in 2008 the worst anti-Christian violence in the history of modern India was recorded.Targeted violence against Christians lasted nearly four months and caused more than 90 victims and 50,000 homeless.