Jul 22, 2010 / 22:52 pm
Despite increased persecution, vocations to the priesthood in the north region of India are continuing to grow. Bishop Anthony Chirayath of Sagar Diocese in the state of Madhya Pradesh reported that the number of candidates to the priesthood in his diocese has been on the rise for the past decade.
“When the diocese started in 1968 as an exarchate there were only 600 Catholics and three priests – now we are (at) 35,” he told the news agency for the pastoral charity, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).
India’s Minister for International Affairs reports that Madhya Pradesh had 654 religious-related violent incidents in 2009, the second-highest in the country.
Bishop Chirayath noted that it has taken courage for young people to step forward to serve in the Church in the face of violence and family circumstances. “They know, after (violence in) Orissa, that there are persecutions and these incidents – the killing of priests and sisters – are all known to every young man or woman.