By Felix Anthony
Tezu, September 14,2019: The canonization process of two French missionaries, who were martyred in Arunachal Pradesh 165 years ago, gained momentum on September 14 with the setting up of the diocesan board of enquiry.
Fathers Nicolas Michael Krick and Augustin-Etienne Bourry, members of the France’s Societe des Missions Etrangeres de Paris (MEP) or the Society of the Parish Foreign Missions who were on their way to Tibet, were killed in 1854 by Mishmi chief of Somme village, bordering China.
Hundreds of priests, women Religious and lay people from around the eastern part of Arunachal Pradesh gathered at St. Peter’s Church, Tezu, to witness the inauguration of the board.
“Today is an important event of the Church in Arunachal Pradesh,” Bishop George Pallipparambil of Miao said at the beginning of a solemn inaugural Mass at the church situated in the headquarters of Lohit district.
“With the constitution of the diocesan board of Inquiry today, we enter into the second stage of our efforts to bring these two holy men on their way Sainthood,” the Salesian prelate who has taken the initiative to ger the two missionaries declared saints.
“As we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Cross today, we pray that the work we undertake for these two holy men, who shed their blood on our soil, will soon bear fruit,” the bishop added.
During the Mass, the members of the board took oath to discharge their duties faithfully according to the norms of the Church.
The board was set up after receiving the favorable opinion of the North East Regional Bishops’ Council. Bishop Pallipparambil then obtained Nihil Obstat (no objection) from the Congregation for the Cause of the Saints.
The bishop then appointed a Historical Commission to collect the works the missionaries, who are already Servants of God, the first stage in the canonization process.
He also appointed theological censors studies available resources and affirmed the orthodoxy of the missionaries’ writings without any error in faith and morals.
The board comprises the diocesan bishop, Postulator for the Cause of Canonization, an Episcopal delegate, a Promoter of Justice, Notary and copyist.
Bishop George has appointed Father Antonysamy Savarimuthu, director, Centre of Canon Law Studies, Bangalore, as postulator, Father Tomy Joseph, episcopal delegate, Father Joy Manickathan, promoter of justice, Sister Sunita Parmar and Father Felix Anthony, notaries and Fathers Joseph P. Xavier and Subhash Michal as copyists.
The people of Tezu, a Mishmi tribe town expressed joy at the new impetus the process of Canonization has gained.
Catherine Boo, a Catholic from the town said “We are very happy to see the progress with the process of canonization. We pray that this day will remove the blot of stains we have acquired because of the killing by own tribe’s man 165 years ago.”
Krick was 35 and Bourry 28 when they were killed. Their mortal remains are still preserved by the Somme villagers.
The board received depositions from three witnesses during the Mass, who had obtained spiritual benefits through the intercession of the two missionaries. Another 18 witnesses recorded their testimony with the board after the Mass.