Another Christmas in Orissa
Capuchin Br. Nithiya from the Tamil Nadu Province informed about a visit to the Indian state of Orissa during Christmas. He spent a day at a Relief Camp (where those who have had to leave their homes as a result of the earlier violence are seeking shelter) on Christmas day to be with the people there, as well as to celebrate mass with them. Br. Nithiya is the Secretary of the National Commission for Justice, Peace and Development of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India. He wrote:
I am writing this short note to inform you that I am safe and the people in Orissa were safe on Christmas. However, we are not sure of their security. The Xmas celebration was peaceful on the whole. Thank you very much for the prayers for Orissa. I am still in Orissa. I shall send you a report of my experience soon.
From 24th evening, I had been moving from one camp to another, celebrating mass and meeting people. After the midnight mass in a camp of 2000 people, I slept in a small tent meant for 7 families. I began my trip to other camps all through the day. Around 10pm, I had some meals in a roadside restaurant and returned back here in Bhubaneshwar around 2am. I had celebrated mass in three places. The mass was presided by a local priest in Oriya language. The singing was superb in all camps. There was tight police security in all the camps. I could enter only with the special pass obtained from the Government authorities. There were also security checks along the road. It was all through a journey remembering the experiences of the plight of the Jewish people from the sufferings of Paraoh, of Mary and Joseph, rejected by humans from their houses... and the consequent birth of Jesus outside.... This was probably the best Xmas I had in my life. There is a tremendous power within, to move forward, to be strengthened in Faith and to learn from these holy people. My only wish and prayer is that these people should be in their own homes ( all burnt to ashes) in their own villages ( Rejected by neighbours as they are Christians) with dignity ( since they live under threat to life and dignity)
People are still living under tremendous shock and trauma. Already two persons died due to acute trauma. The people's faces show the fear and agony and their hope-less condition. They need to share and shed their tears and get mental relief and go ahead in hope. Hence I am organising two trainings for local people to thie effect. One will be a 10 days course on Trauma Counselling and the other is on the use of NLP Neuro Linguistic Programme for five days.
Please keep these programmes for the victims in your prayers. There is a long way to go. I shall write to you again about this.
Wish you a very happy New Year, filled with Peace and Joy based on Justice and Truth.