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Fr. Linus Lakra SDB - the First Gift of God in the Year of Faith for Rajgangpur

By Fr Shilanand Kerketta
Fr Linus Lakra flanked by ordaining Abp Vincent Barwa SVD, Bishop Emeritus Alphonse Bilung SVD, Fr Michael Peedikayil SDB, Fr Pradeep Kujur, Fr. Shilanand Kerketta SDB
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New Delhi, Nov. 20.  - On 17th November  2012 at 8.00 am in Rajgangpur Catholic Church of Rourkela diocese about two thousand faithful with other religious and priests witnessed the priestly ordination of  Deacon  Linus Francis Xavier Lakra SDB. It was termed by the ordaining Archbishop John Barwa ''the first gift God for us in the Year of Faith''.
His Grace John Barwa SVD, Archbishp of Cuttack Bhubaneshwar and Diocesan Administrator of Rourkela, in the gracious presence of Rev Alphonse Bilung - Bishop Emeritus of Rourkela, officiated at the ordination ceremony in a deeply religious atmosphere of prayer and devotion.  In his homily, Bishop John Barwa proclaimed,''The priestly ordination of deacon of Linus Francis Xavier Lakra is the first gift God for us in the Year of Faith.''  He added that the faith manifested in the participation at the sacerdotal ordination of Linus the youngest child of the late Mr Nicholas and Mrs Matilda Lakra, should be kept alive and burning brightly throughout the Year of Faith.

Dn Linus Francis was accompanied affectionately  and prayerfully by his elder religious sisters, Pushpa M. Snehal MC and Rosina Jasinta MSMHC, his other brothers and sisters, numerous relatives, Salesian family members (SDBs, FMAs, the Disciples, Salesian Cooperators, Pupils) the diocesan clergy, other religious and priests, brothers and sisters. Prominent among the participants were Rev. Fr. Michael Peedikayil, Provincial of Salesian Province of New Delhi, Fr. Pradeep Kujur, In Charge of the diocese of Rourkela, Fr. Shilanand Kerketta Salesian Vice Provincial and Fr. Vincent Toppo and Fr. Naresh Kujur Provincial Councillors, Fr. Joe D' Souza, founder of the secular institute ''The Disciples''.

Rev. Fr. Valentine Surin parish priest and other co-pastors, Handmaids of Mary, the women congregation working in the parish and the faithful prepared the parish community to receive the first gift of the Year of Faith diligently and in a fitting manner, and celebrated it with due grandeur and solemnity.  The entrance dance performed by school children of primary, middle and high schools and women of the parish dressed in various costumes and dancing in unison gave the fitting start to the ordination rite. The choir gave sweet voice to the hymns appropriately selected for the occasion. The local artists of the Kisan community gave vigour and tone to the celebrations before the religious function.

On a personal note, the ordination of Linus awakened in me nostalgic feelings about my own ordination. I trust it is not shameful to shed tears at the sight of something  so beautiful, inspiring and moving. That I did, and the event stirred the faith and devotion of many a participant.

Congratulations to Fr Linus and his family. Thanks to the family who has gifted a worthy son to the Church and the Salesian Congregation as a priest. Thanks also to Fr. Valentine Surin, co-pastors, Sisters and all the faithful of Rajgangpur parish for their great roles at the Priestly ordination.
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