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Sambalpur Bishop ordains Salesian Deacon in Rourkela

By Nirmal Jamreet Toppo
Father Clement at Recessional Dance Procession flanked by his younger sister and relations
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Kolkata, Jan. 30. Deacon Clement Lakra was ordained priest by Bishop Niranjan Sual Singh of Sambalpur on 19 January 2020 at Jalda near Rourkela in Odisha. 11 Salesians from the Salesian province of Kolkata and 06 from New Delhi were among the thousands of faithful who witnessed the sacerdotal ordination of Deacon Lakra, and a Capuchin deacon. Father Sunil Lakra was the Provincial's delegate to present Deacon Lakra.
The diocese of Rourkela, much lauded in the episcopal gatherings as arguably the biggest contributor to priestly and religious life in India saw 60 priests ordained in the diocese belonging to different religious congregations. Father Lakra is the 3rd Salesian priest to be ordained in the diocese this year, as 02 other Salesian priests preceding him belonged to the Salesian province of Guwahati.
Father Lakra hails from Saraigarh, a village cradled in the woods of Chotanagpur plateau, 18 kilometers from Rourkela. He is the oldest of four siblings, 02 brothers and a sister. Last year he lost his mother, which was a fith-crisis for him ''It is in this hour of grief when I was grappling with the question 'Why' at the theologate in Bangalore, that I heard a voice 'I am with you,''' said the new priest, sharing the reason for the choice of his ordination motto taken from prophet Isaiah.
The ordination ceremony had all the characteristic elements of mass festivity as witnessed in the Catholic church of Chotanagpur belt. ''Wherever you look, people are dancing,'' exclaimed Father Kumuda Digal as the entrance dance had nearly 300 dancers. The Holy Eucharist consisted of 04 ceremonial liturgical dances enacted by mothers, youth and children. The self-taught professional musicians with the choir of the parish broke into joyful rendition of hymns in traditional Sadri music. The choir of Jalda parish led by Father Klukant Xess of the diocese of Rourkela is well known in developing Sadri liturgical hymns in the format of video albums.
Bishop Nirnanjan Sual Singh of Sambalpur had been called to administer the ordination since Bishop of Rourkela Kishore Kumar Kujur was at another ordination. Bishop Niranjan also ordained Father Dilip Burh, a Capuchin alongwith Father Lakra. The Bishop exhorted the new priests to follow the rules and charism of their respective congregations and thus be holy. he said,''Be always happy in your priesthood. Always thank God for your priesthood. Remember, it is in this priesthood you will receive your salvation. God will sanctify the church through your priesthood.'' Remain close to your brothers in the congregation till death, this is my humble request to you, added the Bishop.
Over 2000 parishioners gathered for the ceremony. 20 faithful from Liluah too were in attendance. The parish of Jalda has been hosting priestly ordinations for several missionary congregations for the last 05 years. The festivities, felicitations and fellowship after the Ordination Eucharist were effusive in appreciation and thanksgiving.
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