Arunachal diocese commemorates pioneer missionaries’ martyrdom
By Felix Anthony
Miao: August 2 is an important day for the people of Arunachal Pradesh’s eastern region.
On this day, Catholics in eight districts of the northeastern Indian state fondly remember two French missionaries, who were killed by in Somme Village near Khibito bordering China.
Fathers Nicolas Michael Krick and Augustine Etienne Bourry, were on their way to Tibet. The only way to the Himalayan kingdom was through Arunachal Pradesh. The missionaries, members of the Society of the Paris Foreign Mission, used the journey to sow the first seeds of Christianity in Arunachal Pradesh. The duo halted at Somme, a Mishmi tribal village. Chief of the village, Kaisha, killed them on August 2, 1854.
“Having read about these two missionaries from the few literatures available, we can say it with confidence that these two are holy men beyond doubt” says Bishop George Palliparambil of Miao.
The diocese covers the eastern part of Arunachal Pradesh, including Some village. The Salesian prelate has taken keen interest to promote the cause of canonization of the two martyrs.
The diocese conducts various events on their martyrdom day not only to make these men known and but promote their canonization cause. The diocese has set up centers dedicated to the missionaries at Tezu in Lohit district and Injan in Changlang district. The diocese organized quiz competitions and prayer service to mark their martyrdom.
Around 20 schools participated in the quiz competitions at Krick and Bourry Memorial School in Tezu. St. Bonaventure School, Dumba, won the first prize and Mother Teresa School, Kharsang, won the second prize and Holy Rosary School, Changlang, the third. Holy Rosary School, Changlang emerged winner also in the junior level and Krick and Bourry Memorial School, Tezu won second and Mother Teresa School won the third prizes.
The Krick and Bourry Memorial Hospital, the only healthcare institution managed by Miao diocese at Injan organized a prayer service to remember the two martyrs. Sudip Bhattacharya, a senior doctor of the hospital, expressed happiness to have known about the two holy men through the prayer service. The nurses working in the hospital prayed for hastening the missionaries’ canonization process.
Diocesan officials say the cause was morally boosted after Pope Francis added a new fourth way to possible Sainthood. The pontiff has made provisions to canonize people who lived a good Catholic life and freely accepted a certain and premature death for the good others, the Diocese of Miao is hopeful that it would soon have two Saints from Arunachal Pradesh.
Father Krick was born on March 1, 1910, at Lixhein, France. He was ordained a priest in 1844. On September 26, 1851 he reached Sadiya, a river island in Assam. In 1852 he made the first visit to Tibet. He was killed during his second trip. Eye witnesses say that he was killed while he was returning after attending to his sick companion. His last latter was written from Somme on July 29. He was buried at Somme and the villagers have kept the place specially marked even to this day.
Father Bourry was born September 26, 1826, at Chapelle Largeault, France. In 1852 he was ordained a priest and appointed to Korean mission but later change to the Tibetan Mission. In March 1853 he reached Guwahati, and met his superior Father Krick at Saikhowa on July 22, 1853. On February 19, 1854, Krick and Bourry left Saikhowa for Tibet. Krick’s July 29 letter reported that Bourry was sick. He was killed on his sick bed. He too was buried at Somme.