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Indian church hosts Inter-Religious Meet to advocate Care for Creation 

The Apostolate of Inter-religious Dialogue of the Archdiocese of Goa and Daman organized an inter-religious prayer gathering that witnessed an inspiring convergence of faiths.

The event, held on November 30 amidst the ongoing Novena preparations for the feast of St. Francis Xavier in Old Goa, centered around the theme 'Care for Creation, Human Obligation.

Dr. Shefali Kale, Assistant Professor, Department of  Philosophy at St. Xavier’s College Mapusa, Goa,   Nazrana Banu Shaikh, Assistant Professor, Department of  Political Science, Carmel College for Women, Nuvem, Goa; and Perci Fernandes, an educator and a catechist at Guardian Angel Church, Sanvordem, Goa, were the speakers, representing the Hindu, Muslim and Catholic faiths, respectively. 

Dr. Kale emphasized the interconnectedness of all creation with the divine. She spoke about the concept of 'dharma' that extends beyond duty, defining it as a cosmic responsibility to maintain balance and seek contentment. According to him, this responsibility includes safeguarding and nurturing all life forms, animate and inanimate. 

Nazrana Banu Shaikh underscored the profound emphasis on environmental stewardship in Islamic teachings. She emphasized how Islam provides a comprehensive framework for leading a righteous and purposeful life.

Perci Fernandes drew attention to Pope Francis's ‘Laudato Si’ encyclical, urging participants to adopt the principles of responsible stewardship. She emphasized the importance of the 'Reduce, Recycle, Reuse' approach in environmental conservation efforts.

Novices of the Congregation of the Franciscan Missionaries of Christ the King (FMCK) and Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth (SFN) invoked God’s blessings through a prayer dance. Fr. John Fernandes, the assistant parish priest of St. Anne's Church, led a multilingual choir that sang hymns and bhajans.

Other items included in the meet are the Garba dance by the students of St. Xavier’s Academy, Old Goa; the skit by the students of Holy Cross Convent School, Bastora; and the mime by the students of St. Xavier’s College, Mapusa. Students reflected the community's commitment to environmental consciousness through artistic expression.

Fr. Ramiro Luis, member of the Committee for the Apostolate of Inter-religious Dialogue, welcomed the gathering. 

Lynessa Linson anchored the event, while a member of the Apostolate of Inter-religious Dialogue, Sr. Godwina Pereira HC, thanked all.  Alisha D’Cunha led the pledge to protect and take care of the environment. 

The event, spearheaded by Fr. Agnelo Pinheiro, the Convenor of the Apostolate of Inter-religious Dialogue, aimed to foster unity and a shared commitment to environmental preservation among people of different faiths.- Br. John Malvino Alfonso OCD


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