Vatican invites Christians, Hindus to hope despite pandemic

Hindu devotees offer prayers during Diwali, or the Festival of Lights, at a Hindu temple in Colombo on Oct. 27, 2019. Diwali marks victory over evil and commemorates the time when Hindu god Lord Rama achieved victory over Ravana and returned to his kingdom of Ayodhya. (Photo by Ishara S. Kodikara/AFP via LiCAS.news)

The Vatican this week called on Christians and Hindus around the world to build “a culture of positivity and hope in the heart of our societies” despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue made the call ahead of the observance of Diwali, the Indian festival of lights, that will start on Nov. 14.

The festival usually lasts five days and is celebrated during the Hindu Lunisolar month Kartika.

One of the most popular festivals of Hinduism, Diwali symbolizes the spiritual “victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance.”

In a message titled “Rekindling Positivity and Hope during the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond,” the Vatican council acknowledged that “even the boldest hope and positivity can dissipate in the tragic situations caused by the present pandemic.”

“Yet, the trust of Christians and Hindus in God’s providence inspires them ‘to remain optimistic and to work to rekindle hope in the midst of our societies,’” it added.

The council pointed noted that during the pandemic the world has seen communities coming together in solidarity and concern, in acts of kindness and compassion for the suffering and those in need.

This has led people to appreciate more deeply the importance of coexistence and the need for one another for the well-being of all and that of the common home, it said.

The council said that Christian and Hindu religious traditions “teach us to remain positive and hopeful even amid adversity.”

“In cherishing those religious traditions and teachings,” the council expressed hope that amid the global health crisis Christians spread what Pope Francis called “the contagion of hope.”

Instituted by Pope St. Paul VI in 1964, the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue sends out messages every year on the occasion of Diwali and the Muslim observance of Ramadan, and the Buddhist festival of Vesakh. - LiCAS.news