Catholics across India gathered in prayer on the Solemnity of Christ the King Sunday, seeking divine intervention for the safe evacuation of workers trapped in a tunnel in Uttarakhand. The celebration took place simultaneously in many places including Delhi, Ranchi and Indore, with believers joining together to express solidarity with the affected workers and their families.
In Delhi, Archbishop Anil Joseph Thomas Couto led a large assembly at the Sacred Heart Cathedral during the Christ the King feast celebration. Special prayers for the trapped workers echoed through the cathedral, as Archbishop Couto expressed confidence that collective prayers would bring about a miracle, ensuring the rescue of all those trapped in the 4.5 kilometers Silkyara tunnel.
The call for prayers came following an appeal from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), urging the faithful to unite in prayer for the well-being and safety of the workers. Archbishop Andrews Thazhath, President of CBCI, voiced deep concern for those trapped and encouraged the community to seek divine intervention.
In Ranchi, hundreds of Christians took part in a procession to celebrate the Feast of Christ the King. The procession, starting from a church on Purulia Road, toured the main thoroughfares of the city before culminating at Loyla Ground. Father Amrit Lakra explained that the feast spreads the message that Christ is the king of heart, love and service.
Concurrently, in Indore, the Catholic community congregated at the Mother Marys Grotto in Palasia to honor and observe the Feast of Christ the King. Father Pius Lakra, director of Masih Vidya Bhavan, emphasized the essence of the day during his sermon, stating that Lord Jesus Christ reigns through selfless service and love.
The celebration in Indore featured a procession led by Bishop Dr. Chacko T., symbolizing unity and humility within the Catholic community. A Holy Mass conducted under the spiritual guidance of Bishop Chacko, accompanied by melodious hymns, marked a significant aspect of the day's festivities.
BA Alwaris, from Indore Christian Media Forum, shared comprehensive insights into the proceedings, highlighting the communal fervour and the pivotal role of the event within the Catholic calendar.
The communal fervour extended to academic achievements, with the Indore Catholic community honouring outstanding students across different educational milestones. Recipients were recognized for their academic prowess and presented with esteemed accolades, including cash prizes, certificates and mementos.
Celebrations were also reported from Sahnewal, Punjab and Mhow in Madhya Pradesh. In Mhow people gathered at the Rajeshwar Church for a collective prayer. Due to unfavourable weather and heavy rainfall, the traditional procession did not take place this year. Instead, the community gathered within the church premises to worship and honour Christ the King.
Meanwhile, the workers trapped in the Silkyara tunnel faced challenges due to rocks, stones and adverse weather conditions. Officials reported that water, food and oxygen were being provided to the trapped workers through a 6-inch pipe inserted into the rubble. Rescue operations, hindered by metallic obstructions, were making progress as a drilling operation reached 19.2 meters on November 26, with optimism that the operation could be completed by November 30.
Despite the obstacles faced by the trapped workers in Uttarakhand, the Catholic communities across Delhi, Ranchi and Indore demonstrated resilience, faith and unity in celebrating the Feast of Christ the King, seeking solace and divine intervention for those in need.