The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue has released a message wishing all Hindus on the occasion of Deepavali, also known as the Festival of Lights.
The message published by The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue “extends its most cordial grreetings” and expresses its wish that this feast may “light up” their lives, even in the midst of the anxiety and uncertainty arising from the pandemic.
In its message issued on Friday 29 October, the Vatican says it “extends its most cordial greetings to you on the occasion of Deepavali which falls on 4 November this year.”
“May the observance of this feast even in the midst of anxiety and uncertainty arising from the present pandemic, and its resultant worldwide crises, light up your lives, homes and communities with the hope for a better future!” the message states.
Along with “the scars that are fresh in our minds from the pandemic”, reads the message, there is “a sense of resignation, despair and despondency whenever devastating things happen across the globe”. In this regard, the message goes on to share some thoughts on how “we, both Christians and Hindus, can bring the light of hope in people’s lives in such challenging times”.
The message by Vatican was published a day prior to the meeting of the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Pope Francis in the Vatican on Saturday. Several human rights groups have voiced their concern that Christians suffer increasing persecution in India since Modi came to Power in 2014.
Through the “dark clouds of the current pandemic”, there have been “silver linings of solidarity and fraternity”. The power of solidarity through assisting the needy, more so with an inter-religious character and responsibility, gives visibility to the light of hope, reads the Vatican statement. “Bringing light together in people’s lives through inter-religious solidarity also validates the usefulness and resourcefulness of religious traditions in society”.
In times of crisis, religious traditions also have the capacity to help individuals find hope, “with their gaze fixed beyond their present despair”, continues the statement.
For this reason, it is incumbent upon religious and community leaders to nurture the spirit of fraternity among their followers with a view to helping them walk and work together with the people of other religious traditions, most especially during crises and calamities of every kind.
Bringing its message to a close, the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue writes that “as believers grounded in our own respective religious traditions and as persons with a shared vision for and shared responsibility towards humanity”, in particular suffering humanity, “may we Christians and Hindus, individually and collectively, and joining hands with people of other religious traditions and of good will, reach out to people who are in despair, to bring light into their lives!”. Finally, the message concludes wishing, “Happy Deepavali!”