The Vatican would next month pronounce Devasahayam Pillai, an 18th century Hindu convert to Catholicism in Tamil Nadu, as ‘Blessed’.
The Kottar diocese in the state is gearing up for the significant event on Dec. 2.
The event is expected to draw nearly 100,000 people from across the state.
Forty bishops of the church, priests and religious people all over are also expected to join the celebrations.
Pillai is celebrated as the martyr of the diocese who is believed to have been killed for professing Catholic faith in the 18th century.
Pope Benedict had in June recognized Pillai as a martyr for faith and made him a venerable, the second stage in the Catholic Church’s four-tier canonization process.
“Cardinal Angelo Amato, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints under whom the appeal for beatification of Pillai was scrutinised will be the main celebrant of the grand Holy Mass,” said Fr. A. Gabriel, the priest of the diocese.
The priest had been heading the local committee working for the beatification process in the diocese.
Cardinal Amato in his earlier communication stated that Pillai will be the first Indian martyr for faith who will be given the title of 'Blessed'.
Pillai stuck to his faith till his death and he is an example for the Catholic Church in India, the cardinal had stated.
Along with Cardinal Amato, Cardinal Oswald Gracias and Cardinal Telespore Toppo will attend the beatification ceremony.
Fr. Gabriel said that efforts for the beatification of Pillai started as soon he was martyred and the then Bishop Clement Joseph of Cochin submitted a report to the Vatican in 1756.
Later, the laity of the diocese started taking efforts in a full-fledged manner and formed a local committee called Catholic Club at Nagercoil in 1984 and the continuous efforts of the diocese and the laity have yielded the results.
"It is a great honour that Devasahayam Pillai is to be beatified and we are eagerly preparing for the event," Fr. Gabriel said.
Source: Times of India
India: Besides undergoing jail term, he has to pay a fine of rs 2.15 lakh.