New Delhi: In a year that saw immense sufferings across the globe due to Coronavirus and irrespective of people's religious affinity, the Catholic church leadership from Vatican released a message to Hindus ahead of the Diwali festival that falls on November 14.
It was signed by Cardinal Miguel Angel Ayuso, council president, and Msgr. Indunil Janakaratne Kodithuwakku, council secretary, the message for Diwali 2020 called believers among both Hindus and Christians to spread hope through gestures of care and concern.
The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue expressed hope that the celebration of Diwali would "dispel every cloud of fear, anxiety and worry, and fill your hearts and minds with the light of friendship, generosity and solidarity".
Diwali is a festival focusing on the victory of truth over lies, light over darkness, life over death and good over evil, it said.
With the coronavirus pandemic still raging, the message said, it is appropriate to discuss ways "to encourage a positive spirit and hope for the future, even in the face of apparently insurmountable obstacles; socioeconomic, political and spiritual challenges; and widespread anxiety, uncertainty and fear."India perhaps houses Christians of almost all denominations.
Although the exact origin of Indian Christians may be disputed, scholars agree on the Christian presence in India since the second century. Studies reveal there were pre-Portuguese missions to India from Rome of John de Montecorvino in the 13th century and John de Marignoli in the 14th century.
The arrival of British in India (1610), the dominance of East India Company (1757-1857), and colonial rule (1858-1947) were instrumental in spreading Protestantism in the sub-continent.
It is assumed that over 2.3 per cent of India's population are Christians.