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Mumbai: Church on front line offering support to victims

 Over the weekend, the city of Bombay was still recovering from the aftershocks of Thursday's terrorist attacks that left over 100 people dead and 300 wounded. There are only about 510,000 Catholics in Mumbai, out of a total population of 20 million, but church members have been active in supporting victims at the scenes of the attacks and in hospitals.

Yesterday the Archdiocese repeated calls to the faithful to "kneel down and pray that bridges may be built between men, communities, and religions," as Auxiliary Bishop Bosco Penha said. All Masses being celebrated in the city were offered for the victims of the attacks, and for peace and religious harmony.

"As Christians, we are called to increase our efforts and commitment to reconciliation, social harmony, and fraternity," the Bishop said.

Lay associations have also begun working: Dolphy De Souza, President of the "Bombay Catholic Sabha," said that "activities of this kind help us to better love our neighbor: we are prepared to work together, sharing our clinics and schools."

Joseph Dias, Secretary General of the Catholic Secular Forum, said the Catholic community will have an active role in building peace and harmony, explaining that his movement will work for the families affected by the tragedy and that Catholic volunteers are already working in the hospitals to help the wounded.

In a statement issued immediately after the attacks, the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI), condemned the attacks, expressing their solidarity to the families affected, praying for the prompt recuperation of the wounded, and especially recalling "those who continue to be held prisoner, that they may be freed as soon as possible." The Bishops also sent out an appeal to the people of Bombay, asking that they "maintain peace and harmony in this hour of suffering and pain," once again calling all to an establish dialogue and peace, "the only path for a more civilized life in our society."

Source: Fides