INDIA: Priest beaten, threatened with death by Hindus during Holy Week

While we concern ourselves with the monumental question of blessings during Communion (which, yes, it is wrong to do though it is not a matter of maximum weight in our scales of liturgical abuses), this is what is going on elsewhere.

From AsiaNews:

Priest beaten, insulted and threatened with death during Easter in Orissa
by Nirmala Carvalho

A group of Hindus attack Fr Sisirakant Sbhanayak, parish priest in Sukananda (Kandhamal District) on four occasions during Holy Week. The attackers wanted to destroy a path that leads to a Lourdes Grotto attached to the local church. During anti-Christian pogroms in 2008, the church was demolished together with the home of the Sisters of Mother Teresa.

Bhubaneshwar (AsiaNews) – “They tried to kill me. They beat me, insulted me, and threatened to kill me,” said Fr Sisirakant Sbhanayak, a Catholic priest in Sukananda village, in Orissa’s Kandhamal District. He was speaking about attacks he suffered during Holy Week. According to the preliminary results of an investigation by G-Udaygiri police, members of Hindu ultranationalist groups tried to disrupt Easter celebrations at the Mary Mother of God Parish. To prevent incidents, the police set up a tight security detail around the church on Easter Sunday.

The story began on 29 March, when Manoj Nayak and Rabindra Nayak as well as others began destroying the path that leads to the church’s Marian grotto. “I told them to stop and they did,” Fr Sisirakant said. However, “they came back the next day with excavating equipment. I told them again not to destroy the path, but this time Manoj and the others started to insult me using filthy language. Deepak Nayak later grabbed me by the neck, hitting me with his fists and threatened to kill me.”

If that was not enough. On 4 April, Manoj Nayak ambushed the priest as he made his way to G. Udaygiri and beat him. Two days later, Rabindra Nayak threatened to kill him.

Fr Sisirakant has been parish priest in Sukananda since 2010. The Mary Mother of God Church has existed for more than 90 years and is part of the Diocese of Cuttack-Bhubaneshwar.

During anti-Christian violence in Kandhamal in 2008, the church building, the priest’s residence and the home of the Missionaries of Charity were looted and set on fire.

When the time comes for persecution in our comfortable places, perhaps not by other religious groups but by government agencies, will we be able to withstand it with our hope and charity intact?

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. DisturbedMary says:

    Venerable Mary Agreda’s account of how Christ was treated after his arrest, an account not told in the passion gospels, tells of Our Lord’s silence and suffering when the demons were let loose on him in the filthy dungeon where he was kept overnight.

    I’ve come to think that our strength will be in Our Blessed Mother’s help to get us through our own persecution, whatever form it may take.

  2. Darren says:


    I agree… God gave us our Blessed Mother to help us through earthly persecutions. I have read the account by Ven. Mary of Agreda (Vol. 1-3, still have #4 to go). Christ Our Lord gave Her to us from the cross when He addressed Her and St. John. May I suffer silently, as did Our Lord, should my life ever come to it. There is a time to speak out, and a time to remain silent. Learn from the examples of Our Lord and of Our Lady, and of Holy St. Joseph.

    I am reminded of the words of St. Pio of Pietrelcina: “Some people are so foolish that they think they can go through life without the help of the Blessed Mother.” It is impossible.

  3. heway says:

    This is heartbreaking! My Hindi friends wept when Mother Teresa died- they knew what a terrible loss it was for their people. This is what we can look forward to – a group falsely representing a view that is anti-christian and implicating innocent people.
    Our dear Mother Mary has warned us many, many times -so we should prepare oursleves through devotion to her and her Son via her rosary.

  4. Clinton says:

    One of the reasons Hindu nationalists are angry with the Church is because of the large number
    of lower-castes, such as the Dalits (aka. “untouchables”), who are converting to Christianity.
    Like Islam, Hinduism is as much a social system as a religion, and it’s upsetting the apple cart
    when the lower castes opt out of the pecking order. It’s not surprising that some upper-caste
    Hindus don’t mind getting dirty trying to drive out what they see as a foreign element eroding
    an order that reinforces their status and privileges.

    Sometimes when I read comments on articles about persecutions of the Church, I’ll see some
    written by what I think of as ‘armchair martyrs’ who bravely type in their defiance, demanding
    that the enemies of the Church “bring it on”. Were real persecutions to come to the States,
    persecution like that experienced by Fr. Sisirakant, how would I hold up? The good Father
    knows that his neighbors are looking for another opportunity to beat him or kill him– how
    would I do if that were my life here?

  5. Pingback: Sad news from India « Our Lady and Sheen

  6. leonugent2005 says:

    My suggestion for this priest is to move to the United States and start working on getting rid of Communion in the hand and giving sermons about how horrid the new lectionary is. It would be safer and much more fun!

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