Thursday, September 29, 2016


Recent tragedies have produced new Jesuit martyrs, and their stories suggest a new direction not only for martyrdom but for the Church in our world today.  They died because they took risks in working and speaking for human rights, in situations where doing so put them in grave danger.

However the Church adapts to the fast paced, often violent world of today, it needs the steadfast faith of witnesses such as these martyrs who surrendered their lives to help others in the Lord's name.
In a recent Blog we met Archbishop Christophe Mwene Ngabo Munzihara of Bukavu, Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo), who was murdered  in 1996 with fellow Church workers, because of his forthright stand against violence in that troubled region.

Icon by Fr. Wm McNichols

Another recent Jesuit martyr is FATHER ANCHANIKAL THOMAS in state of Jharkhand, India, who was beheaded in 1997 by bandits who resented the vigor of his work for justice for India's untouchables. Like St. Teresa of Calcutta he gave his life for the poorest of the poor.

Passion for human dignity guided his ministry. He worked ceaselessly to develop a network of night schools around Hazaribag, which gave people an opportunity to share their concerns-  a whole range of social issues and needs. Father Thomas  became involved in every aspect of people’s lives. He felt himself called to be on the side of the poor, the victims of injustice in whatever form. He sought dialogue and initiated methods to help the people such as bonded laborers held in the crippling clutches of landlords and money lenders. He helped people to buy their own land and build proper homes, escaping from enslavement.
Because of him some people now can hope in a brighter future for their own children. He is still loved and cherished by those whom he selflessly served.

Every year, thousands of Dalits and Tribals come from around the district to visit his tomb and the place where he made the ultimate sacrifice.
Jesuits in Hazaribagh province run two social action centers and offer low-castes education, health services and women´s development programs for their socio-economic advancement.

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