Bhubaneswar (Agenzia Fides) – For the Catholic Church in India there is a "significant step forward" in the process of beatification of Kanteshwar Digal and Companions, the so-called "35 Martyrs of Kandhamal", who were killed "in odium fidei" in the state of Odisha (formerly Orissa, ed.), in eastern India, during the anti-Christian massacres in 2008. "After careful consideration and prayerful discernment, the Congregation for the Cause of Saints has granted the Nihil Obstat, which signifies that there is no objection to commencing the cause for the beatification of Kanteshwar Digal and Companions", wrote John Barwa, SVD, Archbishop of Cuttack–Bhubaneswar in a letter in which he officially informed the diocesan community and all the Indian faithful that they may henceforth call these Christians 'servants of God'.
"There are no doctrinal or moral impediments to investigating the life, virtues and sanctity of the Servant of God Kanteshwar Digal and Companions. This is a testimony to the authenticity of the proposed cause and its alignment with the teachings and values of our faith", reads the text of the letter.
According to the Archbishop, the event represents "an important occasion in the life our Archdiocese of Cuttack- Bhubaneswar, Odisha Church and the Church at large". Indeed, "the life of Servant of God Kanteshwar Digal and Companion has been a source of inspiration. Through their unwavering faith during the 2008 Kandhamal communal violence, has left an indelible mark on our spiritual journey". "As we embark on this holy endeavor - continues Msgr. Barwa - I invite all the faithful to join us in prayer and reflection. Let us offer our prayers and supplications to the Lord, asking for His guidance and grace throughout this process", with the desire "that it may lead lives of ever greater faith and devotion to God".
The Archdiocese of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar is preparing to start the diocesan phase of the canonical process by collecting testimonies about the life and circumstances of the death of the 35 Christian Servants of God of Odisha. If the diocesan investigation has a positive outcome, the case will be sent to the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints, in the Vatican, for the second phase, which could result in the promulgation of the decree on martyrdom by the Pope. (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 26/10/2023)