Phulbani: Vatican representative Salvatore Pennacchio, who will attend the 75th anniversary of a restored Roman Catholic church damaged in riots in Kandhamal, visited the district on Thursday.
"I feel joy to visit Kandhamal," Pennacchio, the Apostolic Nuncio, or diplomatic representative of the Pope, to India, told reporters after unveiling a new statue of Mother Mary at the parish here.
Pennacchio will attend attend the 75th anniversary of the church, restored at a cost of Rs 18 lakh, at Raikia tomorrow. He would also address a public meeting there.
The church was damaged during riots in December, 2007, about eight months before large-scale violence rocked the district following the killing of VHP leader Laxmanananda Saraswati.
Pennacchio was accompanied by the Archbishops of Delhi, Cuttack-Bhubaneswar, Balasore and former Archbishop Raphael Cheenath and took part in a prayer at the church here.
Proper security arrangements have been made in view of his visit.