More are Choosing Religious Lives in India

“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.

“But in spite of that they come forward to be priests or sisters.”

“In some cases only – children come forward – it takes courage to proclaim Jesus to the non-Christian world, it is a challenge,” the bishop continued.

He noted that although many religious sisters have been attacked, sexually assaulted, or killed, young women too are answering their vocational calls.

“There are still plenty of vocations, God has blessed us,” commented Bishop Chirayath.” – “Vocations Increase in India Despite Religious Persecution , Catholic Bishop Reports”, Catholic News Agency

This was an article that I saw on Catholic News Agency, and it was sad to read about it first. However, after getting past the religious persecution and hatred that is happening in India, I did realize the general tone of the article was a positive one. It amazes me that they are seeing more people willing to join up and live a religious lifestyle when there is so much hatred going on. I think these men and women heading in the direction of religious lifestyles should be kept in our prayers.

Ever Hear of a Priest Hole?

This post on a blog called Last Welsh Martyr peaked my interest. I had never heard of these so called “Priest holes” before, but they sounded interesting. I think you will find this to be interesting and valuable information as well.

“In England during Penal Times, because of the importance of the Mass, the necessity of the priesthood to the Catholic Faith was recognized by both the Church and by its enemies in Parliament. As one writer put it: “If the ‘head’ of priesthood could be severed, then the ‘body’ of Catholicism would die.”

As we know, the penalties for priesthood were severe. The Church, therefore, sought to offset government actions by establishing seminaries abroad and by developing a covert network of clergy to meet the needs of those who clung to ‘yr hen ffydd’ (the old faith). Priest Hides’ or ‘Priest Holes’ became a necessary feature in the continuance of the work of priests.” – “Priest Holes”

Isn’t is absolutely ridiculous that many churches and monasteries all over England were built with tiny holes in their foundation for priests to hide in? As crazy as it seems, it is true none the less. The funny thing is that since they were so well hidden, some of these small hiding spots have not been found until recent times. More get discovered as time goes on, and there are surely still undiscovered priest holes all over England right now! The carpenters that built these priest holes would work in the dead of night and with no help to avoid their intentions of being discovered. If they were caught they would be tortured and beaten to death just as the priests who were also disliked during this time. They risked a lot by making these hiding spaces to keep priests safe, and I felt that this fact should be shared with everybody.