//Odisha Church mourns Dalit priest’s death due to COVID-19

Odisha Church mourns Dalit priest’s death due to COVID-19

By Purushottam Nayak

Bhubaneswar, April 25, 2021: Fr. Bimal Nayak the first Odisha priest died of COVID-19 at a local hospital, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. He was 35.

Fr. Nayak was born on April 4, 1986, belongs to a member of the Indian Missionary Society (IMS), Anjali Province, Varanasi.

He is the first of six children of Nepal and Nalini Nayak. He was a public school teacher and later opted for the priesthood. 

“Church lost a young and an enthusiastic priest,” said Archbishop John Barwa, SVD of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar who ordained Nayak on May 12, 2014, at Our Lady of Fatima, a remote church at Pokari, Kandhamal district of the same Archdiocese.

“But we are left with no choices but to accept the realities of our human existence. May the departed soul rest in peace! God bless every member of the family of the deceased,” continued the prelate.  

“Nayak was a good musician, composer, administrator, loving and caring person. We miss him very much,” said Fr Ranjit Singh, IMS, another colleague from Kandhamal.

Nayak passed away due to cardiac arrest. Following the COVID-19 protocol, his body was brought to Christnagar cemetery and Bishop Eugene Joseph of Varanasi officiated the funeral service. 

“My priest son worked for the glory of God. His demise is very shocking and hard to accept. It is Lord Jesus who rescued him from the persecution during the anti-Christian violence of 2008. Then he was 22,” bemoaned Nalini Nayak, 62, mother of the deceased. 

“The untimely death of my priest son has created a vacuum which no one fills up for the Dalit community of the region. It is the will of the Lord,” she said. 

Nayak was the priest of Nadgani Parish of Varanasi diocese at the time of his death. 

He produced four “Premdhar” and two “Pyare Mashiya” Hindi Christian devotional song cassettes through which he could reach out to people.

“He lived a life full of zeal and enthusiasm. He carried out his responsibilities with commitment. His short span of life will keep him alive for his talents and virtues,” said Pradosh Chandra Nayak, vicar general of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar, the uncle of the deceased.