Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, Governor Dr Mridula Sinha Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrao and The Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue greeted the people of Goa on the auspicious occasion of Diwali.
In his message Parrikar says, “Diwali is a festival that illuminates people's minds and hearts with the spirit of oneness and joy.” The Chief Minister further prayed that the festival of lights fills homes of the people with happiness, peace and prosperity.
In her message Governor Mridula Sinha says, “India is known for a myriad of festivals and Diwali is one of the most popular one. Diwali or Deepavali also known as the festival of lights, and is the biggest festival celebrated around the world. People from all walks of life decorate their homes with “diyas”, earthenware oil lamps and candles.”
The Governor says, “It is a festival, celebrated to commemorate the return of Shri Ram, the lord of virtue, to his kingdom after 14 years of exile. For some parts in India, it also marks the end of the harvest season and is the chance to give thanks by the farmers to Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth and prosperity. While the story behind Diwali and the manner of celebration varies from region to region, the festival is celebrated to remember that light triumphs over dark and good triumphs over evil. The carnival of lights is all about celebrating the power of love, honesty and happiness. All the religions in India celebrate this festival. Diwali is like the national carnival of India and the popularity of this festival is not only limited to India.”
“In India, Diwali is spectacular not just in terms of celebration but also in spends. It’s a time for family and friends to get together and exchange delightful gifts. Buying goods and gifting to loved ones is an age-old tradition and is considered auspicious. Similarly, I would also like to mention that during festive seasons, when most of us think about our clothes, our house and our happiness, we forget to include the less fortunate in our thoughts. This Diwali, let’s take charge and reach out to the under privileged people and spread smiles through at least some charity and sharing, in however small way we can. Such noble deeds, not only lifts the festive mood but also contributes towards humanity, which is our duty,” the Governor says.
“Diwali is a festival which gives a significant message of evil being defeated by the good, in the same way we must try to eradicate the evils like jealousy, corruption, racism, violence etc. from the society and create a positive atmosphere of amity, brotherhood and mutual understanding which will strengthen the society and the country as whole,” she added.
“May the celebrations of Diwali this year help in bringing people closer and making life prosperous and happy,” the Governor adds.
Meanwhile, Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrao in his message says,”On the occasion of Diwali, the Festival of Lights, I am pleased to send all our Hindu sisters and brothers warmest greetings and wishes for a true fellowship in their homes and communities. The light celebrated during this Festival shines forth through harmony and is an effect of true and selfless love. Truth, justice and freedom are the pillars of such an endeavour; and they need to be transmitted to our younger generations.”
“On the occasion of yet another Diwali Festival, I would like to make my own the words of the Vatican’s Message for Diwali 2018: “As believers grounded in our own respective spiritual traditions and as individuals with shared concerns for the wellbeing of all, may we join hands … and make collective and concerted efforts to secure a joyful present and a hopeful future” for all. A Happy Diwali!” he adds.
The Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue has sent a Diwali message titled “Christians and Hindus: In Defence of the Vulnerable of Society”, for Hindus across the globe.
The message says, “Dear Hindu Friends, the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue sends you most cordial greetings and prayerful good wishes as you celebrate Deepavali this year. May the celebrations surrounding this festival strengthen the spirit of friendship and fraternity among you and enhance peace and joy in your families and communities!”
“We know from news bulletins and web portals, as well as from direct experience, the daily hardships endured by the vulnerable members of our society: the poor, infirm, elderly, disabled, destitute, abandoned, migrants; those socially, religiously, culturally and linguistically marginalised and excluded; and the victims of abuse and violence, especially women and children. Largely helpless and defenceless, discarded and ignored by a society increasingly indifferent and even callous in the face of human needs and sufferings, the vulnerable everywhere in our time suffer greatly. It is in this troubling context that we wish to share with you a reflection on how we, Hindus and Christians alike, can engage in efforts to defend, protect and assist them.”
The message further says;”The moral duty to care for the vulnerable springs from our shared belief that we are all God's creatures and, as a result, brothers and sisters, equal in dignity, with responsibility for one another. It also stems from the realisation that we too at times feel vulnerable, looking for someone to offer us a helping hand. A healthy awareness of our common human condition and our moral duty towards others inspires us to promote their cause by doing all that we can to alleviate their sufferings, defend their rights and restore their dignity.
There is no doubt that, in this regard, many praiseworthy efforts are being made by individuals, groups and communities in different parts of the world. Yet given the great numbers of the vulnerable, and the complexities often involved in meeting their needs, those efforts can appear no more than a few drops in a great ocean. Still, opportunities for service are all around us, since the vulnerable can be found in every community and society. Greater efforts, inspired by a sense of solidarity, are needed so that they can feel "the presence of brothers and sisters who are concerned for them, and, by opening the doors of their hearts and lives, make them feel like friends and family'' (Pope Francis, Message for the Second World Day of the Poor, November 18, 2018). In the end, the true measure of civilization of any society is the way it treats its most vulnerable members.”
It further states;”Attentiveness and cooperation are needed, not only to defend the legitimate place and rights of the vulnerable in society, but also to cultivate a culture of care and concern in their regard. In our families too, every effort should be made to ensure that no one feels unwanted, unloved, ignored or left out. Every level of society - especially political and government leaders, and those best equipped to provide practical assistance - needs to display a human face and heart to the vulnerable of our society and to reach out to all those suffering marginalisation and oppression. Such generosity should not appear as a token gesture, but as one divinely inspired and aimed at the true emancipation and welfare of the vulnerable and the defence of their cause.”
“As believers grounded in our own respective spiritual traditions, and as individuals with shared concerns for the wellbeing of all, may we join hands with the adherents of other religious traditions and all people of good will, and make collective and concerted efforts to secure a joyful present and a hopeful future for our vulnerable brothers and sisters!
We wish all of you a happy Deepavali!” says Bishop Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot, MCCJ Secretary of Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.