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Cardinal calls for low-key Christmas

Ranchi, Dec. 1: Christmas will not be a glittery affair in the capital and the rest of the state this year.

The church authorities have asked the community to keep their celebrations low and simple and instead, donate the money saved to their brothers and sisters in Kandhamal, Orissa, so that they can “rebuild” homes destroyed in the attacks on the community. Bihar has also been made similar requests.

“The events at Mumbai have come to an end. But at Kandhamal, persecution of Christians still continues. Mumbai is a symbol of economic power. Kandhamal is home to the poor. We have appealed to all Christians to refrain from ostentatious Christmas celebrations and donate the money to build homes in Kandhamal,” Cardinal Telesphore P. Toppo told The Telegraph.

A pastoral letter written by Cardinal Telesphore P. Toppo was read out at the conclusion of the Sunday mass at all churches of the Roman Catholic across the state. “The first wave of violence was unleashed during Christmas last year. The second bout of violence followed after the murder of a religious leader on August 23, 2008. Christians were falsely accused and what followed were inhuman acts.

“Village after village was attacked, people killed and raped, places of worship ransacked, homes belonging to Christians levelled to the ground and thousands had to flee to the jungles,” the letter read.

Even though relief camps were set up, there are reports that Christians are unable to return to their homes for fear of the radicals. If one wants to return home, he has to sign a document renouncing his faith and join the Hindu religion and undergo a purification rite, the letter added.

“I exhort that, as a token of sharing their suffering, we abstain from display of mundane celebrations. Let us refrain from lavish decorations, use of loudspeakers and even avoid buying new clothes. The money saved can be sent for relief to our brethren,” the letter said.It has been recommended that the collected offerings be transferred to the Diocesan treasurer so that it could be sent to the suffering in Orissa, the letter concluded.

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