Hundreds attend Celestina's funeral

KATHMANDU: Celestina Joseph (15), who was killed in the bomb blast at Assumption Church on Saturday, was cremated in Teku Ghat on Tuesday.

Up to 1,500 people, including US Ambassador Nancy J Powell, were present during Celestina's memorial service to bid adieu to the 10th grader.

They also extended condolences to the family of Deepa Patrick, another victim of the blast. Patrick’s body has been sent to India for cremation Teary-eyed family and friends of Celestina offered flowers to the departed soul.

The funeral service saw the participation of people from varied religions. Students of St Mary's and St Xavier's schools and representatives from other Christian organisations were also present.

DK Rai, class teacher of Celestina at St Mary's School, described Celestina as a talented girl who indulged in extra-curricular activities.

“She was always eager to learn news things and was active in the classroom," Rai recalled.

Pratistha Bhandari, Celestina's classmate, recalled her as a helpful friend.

Bishop Anthony Sharma, Vicar Apostolic of Nepal, condemned the attack on a religious place. "Untimely death caused by such a heinous crime is painful," Sharma said.

Sharma conducted Celestina's last rites. Fathers from churches across the country were present during the memorial service.

"Although Protestant pastors do not participate in the gathering of Catholics, they attended Celestina's memorial service to express shock at such an attack," said Chirendra Satyal, media officer, The Assumption Church. He said representatives from Hindu, Buddhist and Muslim communities also participated in the service.

Two persons were killed and more than 12 were injured in the blast. The condition of Celestina's mother is said to be critical.