Tiangia, dubbed as “the most persecuted village” during the 2008 persecution of Christians in India’s eastern state of Odisha (formerly Orissa), has a new priest.
Father Bikash Nayak was ordained priest for the Diocese of Buxar in Bihar on November 6 and celebrated his first Mass in his village on November 13.
The diocese of Buxar has a population of 33,000 Catholic faithful, with 17 parishes and 19 priests.
“Neither the persecution nor the threat to my life by the fundamentalists could stop my will to dedicate my life to the Kingdom of God,” the new priest was quoted in a report on AsiaNews.
Father Nayak narrated that he had to hide in the forest during the attacks on Christians in 2008.
He also recalled the “example” of Father Bernard Digal, treasurer of the Archdiocese of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar who was killed during the years of persecution, as one of his inspirations.
“He came from my village, he was my relative,” said the new priest. “Innocent Christians fell victim to this anger,” he added.
Odisha, which is located on the Bay of Bengal, is known for its tribal cultures and its many ancient Hindu temples. The capital, Bhubaneswar, is home to hundreds of temples, notably the intricately-carved Mukteshvara.
Father Nayak, 29, is the ninth priest to come from the village of Tiangia.
He entered the Mashih Gurukul Seminary of Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh in 2010 and continued his studies in Nagpur and Delhi.
“I am proud of my son whom God has miraculously saved from the hands of radical groups,” said the priest’s mother.
“I remember sleepless nights in the forest with my children with nothing to eat and drink,” she said at the end of the celebration in the village. – from an AsianNews report