Church celebrates holy mass at community centre

Updated - November 16, 2021 04:54 pm IST

Published - December 07, 2014 08:22 am IST - NEW DELHI

The temporary altar set up by parishioners ofthe St. Sebastian’s Church, Dilshad Garden. Photo: Special Arrangement

The temporary altar set up by parishioners ofthe St. Sebastian’s Church, Dilshad Garden. Photo: Special Arrangement

Parishioners of the St. Sebastian’s Church, Dilshad Garden, who earlier this week lost their church to alleged arson, have come together to set up a temporary altar and celebrate holy mass at the neighbouring community centre.

Speaking to The Hindu about how the community is trying to heal itself after the incident, the Church’s parish priest Fr. Anthony Francis said: “The community is understandably in shock and we are anxious about what can possibly follow. Hours after the Church was destroyed in the fire we celebrated our daily mass right outside the premises, which I feel went a long way in containing our grief.”

The interiors of this Catholic Church were destroyed in a fire on Monday morning, with the church authorities alleging that it “could be the work of some miscreants”.

The Delhi Police had confirmed that they had found a kerosene can on the second floor of the Church and that foul play was suspected in the case. The police have registered an FIR against unknown persons for causing the fire with malicious intent. No casualty was reported in the fire that was detected around 6 a.m. A day after the incident, a special investigation team was set up to probe the incident.

“The altar and the entire interiors of the Church were gutted. We now have a wooden table which is used as an altar and have started celebrating evening mass. Some of the parishioners are also participating in a retreat that is being held nearby which is helping us all,” noted the parish priest.

Stating that prayer is their only answer to the alleged violence, Jose Paul, one of the oldest parishioners here, said: “We are full of hope and the community is learning to work around the grief and sorrow. For us it feels like we have lost our home. We obviously miss our church and nothing can replace the emptiness. We have, however, arranged a table which is our altar and a crucifix, but we still miss our Church.”

Fr. Francis added: “We have been having our regular daily mass and on Sunday the church will celebrate mass as usual. We are determined to ensure that we provide a sense of security and calm to all our people.”

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