.- The L'Osservatore Romano (LOR) reported this week that hundreds of priests, religious and laity gathered on Thursday to offer Mass for the repose of the soul of Father Thomas Pandippally, a Carmelite priest of Mary Immaculate who was killed by Hindu extremists last Saturday.
The Mass was celebrated by Archbishop Joji Marampudi of Hyderabad, together with the superiors of the Carmelite order within the archdiocese. In addition, 150 priests, another 100 religious and numerous lay people were present.
During the homily, the superior of the Provincial House of the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate in Balampilly remembered the slain priest as a man “who dedicated his religious mission to proclaiming the Gospel of Christ among the poor, to the point of sacrificing his own life.
He said Father Pandippally’s sacrifice “will bring new and abundant fruits to the small and heroic Catholic Church in Hyderabad, making Father Thomas one of the martyrs for Christ.”
On the other hand, the Council of Catholic Bishops of Kerala, which brings together 29 Catholic bishops from three different rites, condemned the brutal homicide and demanded that those responsible be identified and brought to justice.
The council’s vice secretary, Father Stephen Alathara, said the murder of Father Thomas in the diocese of “Hyderabad in India is only the most recent in a series of violent attacks against Catholic missionaries in India by extremists of different denominations.