By Team Mangalorean
Chennai/Mumbai October 28, 2008: Fr. Bernard Digal, one of the victims of Orissa carnage who was beaten up mercilessly by the Hindu fundamentalists on August 25, lost his battle for life and succumbed to the injuries today October 28, 2008.
Archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneshwar Raphael Cheenath SVD in a communiqué with Mangalorean.com said that Fr. Digal had been to Chennai to visit the Vicar General of the Archdiocese who had undergone a bypass surgery. While in Chennai Fr. Digal again developed health complications due to the internal injuries that he had received, and was admitted to St. Thomas Hospital in Chennai where he was operated by the doctors to remove a blood clot from his brain.
Archbishop Raphael Cheenath SVD rushed to Chennai to be at his side when he learnt that Fr. Digal's condition further deteriorated. Fr. Bernard who was kept on respirator slipped into coma as both his lungs collapsed and he passed away on the night of Tuesday, October 28, 2008 at 9:25pm(local time).
Archbishop Raphael Cheenath who administered the Sacrament of anointing of the Sick, mourning the death of Fr. Digal said that, "The Church in Orissa is blessed with a Martyr for the suffering and persecuted Church. May he now enjoy the Crown of glory from His Lord and Master, he said adding "Let us continue to show our solidarity and our spiritual closeness to our people in Orissa."
According to the Archbishop, Fr. Digal's body will be flown to Archbishop's house in Bhuvaneshwar today October 29, 2008. Fr. Digal was a native of Raikia (Khandamal district) and he had mentioned in his will that he would be laid to rest in his native place after his death. "If the situation permits, we will fulfill his wish and he will be laid to rest according to his will," Archbishop told mangalorean.com.
Fr Digal was brutally beaten up on August 25 and was left in the forest half naked and bleeding the entire night. He was later admitted to the Holy Spirit Hospital in Mumbai.
"The Christians in the district of Kandhamal have a powerful intercessor in heaven, Fr. Bernard will now continue his work for our people from his heavenly home," he said.
"Fr. Bernard Digal to be laid to rest today"
Bhubaneshwar Oct 30, 3008: The Mortal remains of Rev. Bernard Digal, the victim of Orissa violence, accompanied by Archbishop Raphael Cheenath SVD, arrived in Bhubaneshwar at 2:00pm today October 30, 2008.
The body flown in to Bhubaneswar from Chennai was escorted by police personnel from the airport to Capital hospital and was released at 5.00pm after conducting the postmortem. Hundreds of Priests, religious and the people from all over the state are flocking to pay their respect and homage at St.Vincent Church, where his mortal remains have been kept for public viewing.
According to Fr. Joseph Kalathil, heavy security has been deployed near St.Vincent Church where funeral mass will be held on Friday, October 31st at 10.00am.
Fr Bernard Digal(47), died on Oct. 28 at St. Thomas Hospital in Chennai where he was operated by the doctors for a blood clot in his brain. Fr. Digal who was also a treasurer of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar archdiocese, underwent treatment at a hospital in Mumbai, after which he was convalescing in Chennai where he was visiting an ailing senior priest of the archdiocese.
In another significant move, government of Orissa today has ordered a probe into the death of Fr. Digal following a complaint lodged by Vicar General of the Archbishop’s House. It has been stated in the complaint that, Fr. Digal was attacked by the mob in Sankarakhol of Kandhamal district and was abandoned in a forest area where he was left to bleed before he was taken to hospital. It has also been stated in the complaint that Fr Digal was treated in different hospitals in Bhubaneswar, Mumbai and Chennai.
Fr. Digal was born in January 1962 in Raikia of Kandhamal district. He was ordained a priest in May 1992 for the Archdiocese of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar.
"Indian Priest Dies After Beating"
NEW DELHI, India, OCT. 30, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Father Bernard Digal, 45, died in a hospital Wednesday from wounds he sustained in late August, when he was beaten by Hindu extremists.
The priest served in the Archdiocese of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar, in the state of Orissa, the hotbed for a large portion of the anti-Christian violence that has plagued India since the August death of a Hindu leader.
Father Mrutyunjay Digal, secretary of Archbishop Raphael Cheenath of that archdiocese, announced the priest's death to the Fides news agency. He said the community was in "a moment of mourning, of silence and of prayer for the entire local Church."
"During his life, Father Bernard showed determination and courage to give testimony and die for Christ," the secretary added. "He has died as an authentic Christian; immediately after the attack he suffered, he pardoned his enemies and persecutors."
The Fides agency cited Indian Christian organizations in reporting that some 100 Christians have died as a result of the wave of persecution, while thousands have been wounded. Some 15,000 Christians are living in refugee camps and perhaps as many as 40,000 more have fled to the jungle to hide from the extremists.
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