Loading
First Dalit archbishop laid to rest, hailed as champion of the oppressed
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- A massive crowd gathered in the city of Vijayawada in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh on August 30, to honor the memory of the recently deceased Archbishop Marampudi Joji of Hyderabad. The archbishop died on August 27 of a heart attack, his second since 2002. He was 68.

Archbishop Joji led a remarkable career as the first member of India's Dalit class, once regarded as the society's “untouchables,” to receive the high episcopal rank. Although India's caste system was officially abolished in the law, attitudes of discrimination have remained in some aspects of Indian life. A 2006 survey found that almost a third of the country's Dalits were Christians.

The archbishop was a strong advocate for the rights of India's sizable Dalit Christian minority. In a 2009 interview with AsiaNews, Joji explained that Dalit Christians are faced with discrimination in society because of their class origins, and even legally on account of their religion.

“I am the first Dalit bishop of India,” he said in the 2009 interview, “and I have a duty to ensure that most Dalit Christians can enjoy the same privileges on par with other Dalits.” Up to the end, Archbishop Joji devoted his life both to the leadership of the Church in Hyderabad, and to the cause of social justice for religious and ethnic groups in India.

These works led many officials of the Church and other Christian groups, as well as ministers of the state, to honor Archbishop Joji at his August 30th Requiem Mass at the Basilica of Our Lady of Gunadala.

T.M. Jayakar, a consultant with the Christian Minorities Finance Corporation in Andhra Pradesh, a development organization which the archbishop himself helped create, remembered his sense of solidarity and sacrificial love in a message that was posted to the Christian Persecution Update India website.

“We are placed by God in important positions in the Church and Society for a special purpose,” Jayakar's message quoted the late archbishop as saying. “It is our responsibility to express our solidarity to the poor and defend the marginalized. We must work hard for them without worrying about our own health and respite.”

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google

Featured Videos

Cardinal Luis Tagle to Pope Francis
Cardinal Luis Tagle to Pope Francis
Pope Francis in the Philippines: Manila Welcomes the Pope
Pope Francis in Sri Lanka: Highlights
Pope Francis in Sri Lanka: Interview with Cardinal Ranjith
Pope Francis in SriLanka: Inter-religious Faith Meeting
Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Family thrilled to see Pope Francis in Istanbul
Syrian Refugee, Sara, 14, Before Meeting Pope
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Jan
27

Liturgical Calendar

January 27, 2015

Tuesday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mk 3:22-30

Gospel
Date
01/26/15
01/25/15
01/24/15

Daily Readings


Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »

Saint
Date
01/26/15

Homily of the Day

Mk 3:22-30

Homily
Date
01/26/15
01/25/15
01/24/15