(New Delhi) In the Diocese of Itangar in the Indian province of Arunachal Pradesh the Catholic Church is experiencing extraordinary growth. The main reason for this are unexplained healings, which the Diocesan Bishop, Msgr John Kattrukudiyl reported on his visit to Germany, to which he was invited by the Papal aid organization "Kirche in Not".
Since 1980, the number of Catholics in the outlaying areas in north east India has grown 40 percent. The Bishop has continually received reports of healings, which "amaze". On first reaction one is inclined to "skepticism" said Msgr. Kattrukudiyl, "really the persons concerned are absolutely convinced that they have been healed by divine intervention."
The Bishop described a man who seeked out the Church after he had married a Catholic wman. "Upon becoming a Catholic one asked him to pray for a cripple. The next day, the cripple stood up and went on his own feet to Church". After his conversion, he's been an especially active member of the Catholic community.
Msgr. Kattrukudiyl is familiar with the skepticism, which which many in Europe would greet these reports of miracles. He has received this mainly in western countries. But against all of these doubts, "there are many healings, reported to me, which we simply can't ignore."
The Bishop has looked for an explanation in the rellative youth of his Diocese. "It is the experience of a very young Church, which is experiencing the same grace, as in the times of the Apostles," as miraculous healings were common, as reported by the New Testament.
A common pattern is shown by the various unexplained healings. The miracles happen, after the faithful gather in a house to pray in common where someone is sick. "People, who have been sick for a long time, were healed. These people are living the experience of the early Church." The healings through prayer have led the Church to spread quickly.
The situation of the Church in this area has improved significantly.
The Church isn't just tolerated, but is recognized and praised for its humanitarian activities. About one fifth of the population confesses Christianity.
Text: Giuseppe Nardi