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India

Congress urges more mission work

Delegates told they must be better witnesses for their faith among Hindus

Francis Maria Britto, Raipur

Francis Maria Britto, Raipur

Updated: November 04, 2011 03:42 AM GMT
Congress urges more mission work

Catholics in central India have resolved to revive the faith European missioners introduced among their ancestors more than a century ago. Around 1,600 delegates from 200 parishes spread over five dioceses in Chhattisgarh attended a mission congress that ended October 28, during which attendees were urged to be better witnesses for their faith in the predominantly Hindu nation. “We need more light of Christ these days since there is too much darkness in the world,” Bishop Paul Toppo of Raigarh said in his keynote address to the congress. Jesuit missioners from Belgium first introduced the Catholic faith to Oraon tribal people of central and eastern India. Chhattisgarh state has 410,035 Catholics, mostly tribal and dalit people, in a population of 20.8 million. Congress attendees acknowledged the pioneering missioners’ hard labor and the persecution suffered by the early Christians, and resolved to live their faith boldly and to preserve their culture. They also resolved to organize spiritual programs in an effort to revitalize Catholic faith, and to implement new campaigns to curb social and human rights problems including alcoholism, human trafficking, and government corruption that have hindered the spiritual and economic growth of Catholic communities in the region. Bishop Emmanuel Kerketta of Jashpur expressed his gratitude for the work of early missioners in educating people for service to the Church and the nation. The Oraon tribal prelate said missioners from the region now serve the Church throughout the world.

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