Celestine Joseph, a fourteen –year –old - YCS leader and the delegate to the 11th IYCS Asian Session and Council in Malaysia was among the 2 persons killed in a terror blast at Assumption Church, Kathmandu, Nepal on Saturday, 23rd May 2009 which injured 18 others.
Cardijn Community International condemns the ruthless act of the perpetrators of such terror attacks and express its deep condolences to the IYCS and the family of Celestine Joseph.
The message from IYCS-Asia states:
"Harassment and killing the Christian minority in South Asia is an unceasing issue which needs our solidarity and commitment to stop it. Nepal is a Hindu country with around 27 million populations, of which only around 7000 Catholics. The Catholic Church here depends mostly on the Indian missionaries, however, their life are also threatened when Fr. Johnson Prakash SDB (a friend of Fr. Augusty and Fr. Benjamin-YCS chaplains in Nepal) was shot dead last year in Dharan. The bomb blast in Assumption Parish on 23rd morning is another harassed action of the extremist to the Christian minority in Nepal. Nepal Defense Army (a rebel group dedicated to re-establishing the "divine" Nepalese monarchy that was abolished last year, and intent on rededicating Nepal as a Hindu state) had declared their responsibility for these 2 killings".
Fr. Benjamin from YCS, Assumption Parish narrates as follows:
As usual Celestine Joseph came for the Sunday liturgy with her parents ahead of time. She is to sit with her parents in the church. A lady with rosary around her neck was sitting in front of Celestine's family. The lady asked another lady who was sitting close to her where the toilet was. She got up and went out leaving the bag behind. But she had taken something from the bag - many guess it must have been the remote control- No one had any suspicious on the bag or the lad since Assumption church at Katmandu has many foreigners and strangers every Saturday for the liturgy. Ten minutes after starting the mass, around 9.10 a.m. the bomb was blown off. Most probably the lady who brought the bag must have been keeping a safe distance and must have pressed the button. Celestine was blown up to a distance with impact of the explosion. Her face was partially disfigured and belly too was opened, causing the intestine exposed outside the body. she was taken to hospital but on the way she said good bye to this world.
Celestine was a student of St. Mary's school, Katmandu. Her father is an Indian and mother is a Nepali. She was a very active member of the YCS group. She was the newly elected treasurer of the YCS unit at Assumption parish, Dhobigat, Kathmandu. She was serene and cheerful by nature, willing to do any work for the group. If anything to be done, and if others are hesitant, we could see Celeste' s hand going up expressing her reading to do the particular activity.
We really miss her. May the Good Lord forgive the person / persons who committed this crime against the innocent girl who came to worship her only Savior Jesus Christ.
Along with Celeste another lady from India too was killed in the blast. Today they had booked the ticket to go back to India but the couple wanted to attend the Sunday service and start the journey but it ended in her final journey to her heavenly father.
There are eighteen people injured, of which five are critical. It includes Celeste's mother too. Her father had only a minor injury. But he is under shock".
For further details and to join the campaign launched by IYCS-Asia visit their website www.iycsasia.org
May Celestine's soul rest in peace. Let us rededicate ourselves to work to build peace and social harmony so that we do not lose people like Celestine anymore