By Vatican News staff writer
In a message addressed to Hindus for the feast of Deepavali, 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.
The feast, which falls on 4 November this year, is a celebration that marks the triumph of good over evil.
On this day, also called Diwali, or the Festival of Lights, Hindu families across the world transform their homes into beacons of light, exchange gifts, share feasts and perform pooja (prayers) to deities.
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”.
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 interreligious character and responsibility, gives visibility to the light of hope, reads the statement. “Bringing light together in people’s lives through interreligious 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 Interreligious 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, they add, “Happy Deepavali!”