St Mark’s Cathedral, Bangalore Conducts All-denominational Prayer Service for Pulwama Terror Victims
Bengaluru: The country was rocked by a gruesome terror attack on the CRPF jawans on February 14, 2019. It was the worst kind of terror attack in recent times. Around 44 brave soldiers of the CRPF lost their lives on duty protecting our country. Pulwama has opened our eyes to the reality of hate crimes in our society. This is the worst kind of crime against humanity. This brutal act of violence has left us struggling with various emotions: outrage, anger, sorrow, and fear. In these times, when there is so much of hatred and violence around the world, these are testing times for humankind. It is not the time to seek an eye for an eye, for if we walk down this road we will only cause a world of blind people. It is not the time to seek revenge against the enemies of our country who perpetrated this crime, but a time of reflection and as Christians a call to be an instrument of healing and comfort in our world that is ridden with so much of pain and suffering.
The over 200-year-old iconic St Mark’s Cathedral in Bangalore true to its motto of Inspire, Serve and Transform lived up to its raison d’être and organised a special prayer service on 10:30 AM on February 24, 2019. This was also an ecumenical outreach with the participation of members from all other denominations. Rev. Dr. Vincent Vinod Kumar the presbyter in-charge delivered a special message after the Holy Communion service calling upon the gathering that the appropriate response is the expression of solidarity with the families of the victims and entrusting them to the mercy of God with prayers for their earliest recovery from this trauma. Rev. Vinod Kumar also prayed for the thousands of innocent people who are languishing in our country today and especially Sr. Concelia Baxla, a Catholic nun from the Missionaries of Charity, who is under arrest, on charges of Child trafficking, for over 230 days now.
Also read: No bail yet for Sister Concelia Baxla
Fr Edward Thomas, President CRI Bangalore, speaking on the occasion said that when acts of terror such as the Pulwama attack should be absolutely and unconditionally condemned, we must be cautious not to be sucked into a whirlpool of hatred. “the path of violence and hatred does not solve the problems of humanity”. Such acts of terror can easily lead us to be consumed with anger and hatred towards those who carried out these crimes. He called upon the need of the hour to pray for all our enemies and pray for the “Grace of a firm heart without hatred”. He appealed to the faithful not to indulge in “panic or hatred” and to continue in the path of “moderation, temperance, and control”. He said that we should let the Holy Spirit guide our lives and find Hope in the words of Jesus Christ of unconditional love and forgiveness. He also said that the number of people held in our prisons without trial is mind-boggling and it is a serious issue today. Talking about sister Concelia Baxla, he said that she is innocent and deserves a bail and that the law should take its own course.
Sr Deepa, Vice-President of CRI read out the letter of Rev. Theodore Mascarenhas the Secretary-General of CBCI. This letter is a petition to the authorities for the early release and just trial of Sister Concelia Baxla. You can Click here to read the letter and sign the online petition.
Rev. Fr George Vincent Lobo, Secretary for Ecumenism Archdiocese of Bangalore also spoke on the occasion and thanked Rev. Vincent Vinod Kumar for hosting the gathering to pay tributes to the Pulwama victims and creating awareness about the denial of justice to Sister Concelia Baxla.
Rev. Fr Jerome Stanislaus the Parish Priest of Sacred Heart Church Bangalore was unable to attend the program. David Pichamuthu, a CSI Church member, read out a message from Fr Jerome. In his message, Fr Jerome also profusely thanked Rev. Vincent Vinod Kumar for this Ecumenical outreach. He also said that we should pray for an end to “inhuman violence” of terrorism. We cannot allow acts of terrorism to succeed in dividing our society or destroy our peaceful co-existence between and among people of all religions, races, and cultures. As institutions and individuals, we need to stand together and be vigilant at all times against those who seek to strike fear in our lives and to pray for peace in our country and the world at large.
This program concluded with a peaceful assembly and procession around the Church to express solidarity with the Pulwama victims and also prevail upon the authorities for the speedy trial and bail of Sister Concelia Baxla.
Christian Community Coalition, Karnataka, was instrumental in organising this all denominational ecumenical outreach program. Readers can reach out to Adv. P.M. Mathew, Co-convenor CCC for more details. Mob: 9481370158. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org