Bombay Archdiocesan Christmas Celebration

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By Ancy DSouza Paladka
Bellevision Media Network

Mumbai, Jan 02, 2014 : "Archdiocesan Commission for Inter Religious Dialogue" held its annual Christmas Celebration with people of various religions and their representatives in Mumbai on Sunday the 22ND  December, 2013 at Holy Name High School adjoining to the Cathedral Church, at Colaba. The celebration was presided by HIS EMINENCE CARDIANAL OSWALD GRACIOUS.


The festive occasion began at 5.00 p.m.  with the cordial welcome to the Cardinal and all the dignities of different faiths.  Cardinal along with Fr. S. M. Michael, SVD, Chairman of for Inter-Religious Dialogue lighted the inaugural lamp to the tune of “JYOTI DO, JYOTI DO, JYOTI DO PRABHU”.

The programme began with Prayer Dance by Sisters of Divya Jyoti, Andheri, Christmas prayer and the singing of “Silent Night, Holy Night” by  the participants of the Inter Religious Dialogue Course. The Christmas prayer was solemnized  by the  melodious carols led by  Fr. Alwyn of St. John’s Parish, Marol.


The Christmas story was enacted in a semi classical Indian dance form by Mr. Diago’s group which set the theme “God visits the Suffering Humanity” as a reality in today’s world.  This emotionally uplifting presentation was followed by a Talk Show on the theme “GOD IS WITH US IN THE MIDST OF SUFFERING HUMANITY”. Eight representatives from different religions reflected on the above theme. This was anchored by Fr. Felix D’Souza.

The Muslim representative Mr. Zubair Nathani, said “Suffering comes to humanity by our separation from Allah. Our joy can come only by following the laws of God” . The Hindu Speaker, Prof. Upathiay asked  “God is with us but are we with God?”. He further reflected that sufferings are all human creation; sometimes sufferings are meant for our purification. Representing the Christian community, Bishop Agnelo Gracious highlighted that it is not that Jesus once came in history and it is a past history. Jesus is with us in our suffering humanity. All the work done to alleviate pain of the suffering is the presence of God with us.

Ms. Shobha Didi representing Brahmawaris, expressed her views on suffering as “Suffering is the fruit of our action. What we sow, we reap. So, to avoid suffering, we need to sow good seed. The Karma of our life has its consequences. Good Karma will bring happiness. Bad karma will bring bad effects in our lives”. Dr. Homi Dalla, a Zoroastrian said:   “There are two opposing principles at work, good and evil. There is always a fight between good and evil. Human beings cause suffering and pain. We need to understand this and join good forces to fight against evil which brings suffering.” The Buddhist scholar, Mr. Sudhakar Pawar said, “Our attachment and our desire bring suffering. Non attachment will free us from suffering. It is the human agency which causes suffering and we can overcome it by our awareness and good action of being truthful”. Ms. Shipa Chheda, a Jain professor was of the opinion that “Suffering comes from the fruit of our Karma. Sometimes sufferings also come due to inauspicious time. To overcome suffering we must renounce our material attachment and wait for the auspicious time”. Representing Sikhism, Mis. Dr. Surendar Kaur said, “ Suffering is caused by human selfishness and due to evil karma. Suffering is also to teach that we need to come back to do good karma”.

Since, the Birthday of the Cardinal is on 24th December, he was felicitated during this all religion Christmas programme. The Cardinal in his message stressed the importance of recognizing God with us in the suffering humanity. He urged all the members to be actively involved in building peace and joy in the present world.

The Christmas programme came to a close with the beautiful Christmas dance by  the children of St, Antony School with the parting gift of Christmas sweets. Dr. Ms. Valerie D’souza arranged the prayer service. Fr. Lawrence D’souza gave vote of thanks.

All the participants enjoyed the company of one another exchanging Christmas wishes during the high tea served at the close of this memorable Christmas celebrations.



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