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India’s Cardinal Gracias urges faithful to be holy like Saint Devasahayam

Cardinal Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Bombay, called on the faithful to become holy like Saint Devasahayam.

The Catholic Church in India on June 24 held a National Thanksgiving Prayer Service from the tomb of the saint and consecrated all families to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

“Saint Devasahayam’s life reminds us that the vocation to holiness extends to all Christians, not just priests and religious,” said the cardinal in his homily during the occasion.

“The canonization of the first married lay martyr from our land is a very significant landmark, particularly in the history of the Church in India,” Cardinal Gracias added.

Cardinal-elect Filipe Neri Ferraro, president of the Conference of Catholic Bishops in India and archbishop of Goa-Daman, consecrated all families to the Sacred Heart of Jesus during the same event.

A circular from Cardinal-elect Ferraro requested religious communities, seminaries, hostels, and other Catholic institutions to participate in the prayer service and ask for the mediation of Saint Devasahayam.

Pope Francis canonized Blessed Devasahayam along with nine others on May 15.

Devasahayam Pillai was a Hindu who converted to Christianity in the 18th century. A few years after his conversion, he was imprisoned for renouncing his faith.

Devasahayam, an official in the court of the king of the erstwhile Travancore, continued preaching Christianity until he was shot dead on Jan. 14, 1752, in the Aralvaimozhy forest in Tamil Nadu’s Kanyakumari district.

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