Canonization process of Arunachal Martyrs gains momentum

The Canonization process of the French Missionaries, Fathers Nicolas Michael Krick and Augustin-Etienne Bourry, who were martyred in Arunachal Pradesh 165 years ago, gained momentum with the constitution and inauguration of the Diocesan Board of Inquiry at St. Peter’s Church, Tezu in Arunachal Pradesh on 14 September 2019.

In the presence of Priests, Women Religious and a large number of people from around eastern part of Arunachal Pradesh, the new members of the Diocesan Board of Inquiry took oath to discharge their duties faithfully according to the norms of the Church, during a solemn Eucharistic celebration at the Catholic Church in the capital town of Lohit District.

The work of the beatification of the two French Missionaries belonging to the France’s Societe des Missions Etrangeres de Paris (MEP) or the Society of the Parish Foreign Missions is actively promoted by the Bishop George Pallipparambil of Miao Diocese.

The two French missionaries were killed by Mishmi Chief of Somme village, bordering China, on their way to Tibet in the year 1854.

After receiving a favourable opinion of the North East Regional Bishops’ Council, Bishop George obtained Nihil Obstat from the Congregation for the Cause of the Saints. He then appointed a Historical Commission to collect all the works of these two Servants of God and also a report of the same commission, appointed Theological censors who made a study on the available resources and affirmed the orthodoxy of their writings without any error in faith and morals.

“Today is an important event of the Church in Arunachal Pradesh”, Bishop George said at the beginning of a solemn Eucharistic celebration. “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”.

“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”, he said.

The new Diocesan Board of Inquiry consisted of the Diocesan Bishop, Postulator for the Cause of Canonization, an Episcopal delegate, a Promoter of Justice, Notary and copyist. Bishop George has appointed Rev. Fr. Dr. Antonysamy Savarimuthu, Director, Centre of Canon Law Studies, Bangalore, as Postulator, Fr. Tomy Joseph, Episcopal Delegate, Fr. Joy Manickathan, Promoter of Justice, Sr. Sunita Parmar and Fr. Felix Anthony, Notaries and Frs. 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. Mrs. Catherine Boo, an illustrious 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.

The new Board of Inquiry also received depositions from three witnesses during the Holy Mass, who obtained spiritual benefits through the intercessory powers of the two Servants of God. Another 18 witnesses recorded their testimony with the Board of Inquiry after the Mass.

Krick was 35 and Bourry just 28 when they were killed. The mortal remains are still enshrined and preserved by the people of Somme village.

The constitution of the Diocesan Board of Inquiry has reignited the hope for the first Saints from Arunachal Pradesh among the people of the last State of India, bordering China, Myanmar and Tibet.