Italian teen gets world’s first church in India

Blessed Chiara Luce Badano died in 1990 aged 19

Bhopal: A diocese in central India has dedicated the world’s first church after an Italian teenage cancer victim who was beatified five years ago.

The church in Siroj, a town in Madhya Pradesh state, is the first in the world dedicated to Blessed Chiara Badano, Bishop Anthony Chirayath of Sagar told the Press Trust of India on October 5.

The 74-year-old prelate said he blessed the church on September 25.

Blessed Chiara lived in Sassello, a village in Italy’s Savona province, and died at the age of 19.

The bishop said he had to take special permission from Vatican to name the church after the teen as she was only beatified. According to the Church rules, only the native country of the beatified can have churches named after them.

Chiara’s father cutting the ribbon

Churches elsewhere can be named after a person after his or her canonization.

The church in India was opened by Chiara’s parents Teresa and Ruggero Badano, who came from Italy along with friends and devotees from several countries in Europe and Asia.

Chiara who was born in 1971 and died in 1990. She was beatified in 2010, two decades after her death.

Bishop Chirayath, who had visited Chiara’s native place in 2010 and read her biography, decided to dedicate a church in her honor in his Syro-Malabar diocese.

He said he wants young people to become like “little Chiara — ever smiling, cheerful, sportive, singing and dancing, friendly and loving, kind and thoughtful of others, specially the poor and the sick.”

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