‘He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes’ (Rev 21:4) says the Bible of the persecuted and suffering.

This is also fulfilled, in some sense, in the here and now, in the power of faith and forgiveness. In the state of Orissa, in India, the Christians have indeed suffered. Their churches and houses were burned down, their priests and religious attacked.

Now the bishops of the five dioceses concerned see the Year of Faith as ‘a golden opportunity for the Church in Orissa’, and above all for the young people there, to strengthen and deepen their faith and be willing to forgive. A full programme is being implemented, with texts from the Second Vatican Council, the Bible and the Catechism.

They meet to pray and hold penitential services. As always, the costs exceed the resources of these hard-up dioceses, and so we have promised to help. In their pastoral letter the bishops have entrusted the programme to the protection of Our Lady, for she was ‘blessed, because she believed’.

This article can be found in Mirror 0513.