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Assumption church priest recalls explosion, prays for peace





All the arrangements for congregation of over 500 Catholics had been completed on the Christmas Eve. Robin Rai, the father of Dhobighat-based Assumption Catholic Church, was seen ambling in the church premises, seemingly satisfied with the colorful decoration and dazzling lights strung everywhere.

A gleeful hymn extolling the Lord on behalf of all creatures wafted through the church. As congregants started moving in, about a dozen security guards took up positions for a security check.

The inspection of churchgoers would have seemed inappropriate until a few years ago, but for the strong bomb blast that rocked the oldest Church in 2009.
It was a usual Saturday morning when Father Robin and Father Richard were conducting a prayer on May 23, 2009. Within a few minutes, an explosion ripped through the hall, disrupting the prayers and leaving the congregants in shock.

The Assumption Catholic Church, established in 1995, is one of the three catholic churches in the Valley. Father Robin, who has been with the church since its establishment, was at the prayer when the pressure-cooker bomb went off killing three Catholics and injuring 14. Among the dead, Celeste and Deepa died on the same day, while Buddha Laxmi breathed her last on May 31 that year.

Although the little known Hindu fundamentalist group, Nepal Defense Army (NDA) immediately took responsibility for the condemnable act, the case was solved about a year later when the police arrested Ram Prasad Mainali, chief of NDA.

“Everything is fine today, though, it took months to eliminate the fear that had taken roots in the minds of the people,” says Father Robin.
Though the country has become secular, it is yet to treat people of all religions equally, according to KB Rokaya, general secretary of the National Council of Churches.
A special prayer will be held on December 25 for everybody´s well-being, specially, for the peace and stability in the country, added the priest.

While malls, hotels, restaurants and souvenirs shops in Kathmandu announce arrival of Christmas through decorations, whereas youths celebrate the birth of Lord Jesus in their own way.

Moreover, what makes the Christians in Nepal feel safe is that they never receive organized threats based on religious sentiments, Rokaya mentioned. The National Census Report 2011 states that there are a total of 375,699 Christians in the country, though the community claims to have around 1.5 to 2 million followers, including both the Protestants and Catholics.

Source: Republica Daily


Published on 2013-12-25 02:22:25

About nirjanasharma

Nepali Journalist.

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