Bangalore gathers in prayer for Fr Tom

The Church “travels the same journey as all of humanity and shares the same earthly lot with the world, (…) which is to be renewed in Christ and transformed into the family of God” (Gaudium et Spes, 40). The Indian Church is showing these days how to live this commitment to sharing the fate of the world and to see all its members as part of God’s family. After the diplomatic initiatives and the many appeals for Fr Uzhunnalil, another witness was the prayer vigil celebrated last Monday in Bangalore, to ask the Lord for the release of the kidnapped Salesian and to entrust to the Lord all the victims of violence in Yemen.

The celebration took place at the cathedral of St Francis Xavier. Archbishop Bernard Moras presided. Together with the Salesians of Bangalore he had promoted the initiative – a three-hour vigil during which Mass was celebrated.

Besides the archbishop and Fr Joyce Mathew Thonikuzhiyil, Bangalore Provincial, others who attended included the Vicar General, Msgr. S. Jayanathan and the Chancellor of the Archdiocese, Fr A.S. Antony Swamy. Many religious of the city were present in the cathedral. Bangalore is known as the Eastern Vatican on account of the large number of religious communities (about 520, between male and female).

The Archbishop spoke of the Christians and of all the innocent people persecuted and killed in various parts of the world, of the unspeakable sorrow in seeing missionaries and ordinary citizens persecuted, despite their stated aim of being at the service of humanity. Fr Thonikuzhiyil summed up the meaning of the vigil when, quoting Abraham Lincoln, he called for further service to be undertaken to “bind up the wounds” of the most needy and to seek “a just and lasting peace”.

In addition to imploring the Lord for the release of Fr Uzhunnalil, those present at the vigil remembered in a special way the 16 victims of the terrorist attack carried out in Aden on 4 March last, and in particular the four Missionaries of Mercy, who were there to serve the elderly and the weak. They prayed for all the suffering people of Yemen.

It is worth noting, too, that on Friday 1 April Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Mumbai, also launched a call to prayer to plead for the release of Fr Uzhunnalil.

Source: Info ANS

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