Mangaluru: Diocese celebrates ‘Bandhutva’ Christmas among people of different faiths in city


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Mangaluru, 01 Jan 2022: ‘Although Jesus is the sign of contradiction and rejection for some, many follow Him willingly and lovingly. For, Jesus does not reject anyone who comes after Him. Freedom is at the center stage,’ said Dr Peter Paul Saldanha, Bishop of Mangalore addressing the honorable guests of Bandhutva Christmas Celebration at Bishop’s House, here on Friday, December 31.

 

Quoting the Bible Bishop Peter Paul said, ’Jesus’ invitation to follow Him is based on Freedom. One can follow Jesus, only if he/she wants to follow Him.’ He said that the Law of the Catholic Church strongly forbids any forced conversion or by fraudulent means. ’The issue of forced conversion is a highly exaggerated subject,’ Bishop said.

 

‘According to the Catholic faith, the real fear is that the misinterpretation of allurements could end up in abandoning even the lawful charitable activities that are taught by Jesus towards the needy and beneficiaries. These good works would be given up, out of fear which is a matter of concern. Who is responsible for this preoccupation?’ said the Bishop.

 

Mangaluru city police commissioner N Shashi Kumar was the guest of honor at the Bandhutva celebration.

 

 

The political leaders, luminaries of public administration, city corporators, officers from the departments of police, law and order, education, health, IT, Intelligence, banking sector, NGO, media, religious leaders, heads of Christian institutions were present.

 

Expressing his joy over the celebrations, Shashi Kumar said, ‘Bandhutva echoes a great feeling that all people belonging to different religions are united together in love and brotherhood. I, along with my department, work sincerely to realize the dream of all citizens of this city.’

 

Speaking about Bandhutva, Bishop Dr Peter Paul said, ‘It is an occasion to experience brotherhood which calls each one of us to show our concern and thoughtfulness towards our fellow beings. Jesus the par excellence is our model to become humane, kind, loving and gentle. Celebration of the birth of Jesus is an incentive to become brothers and sisters to one another filled with love, forgiveness and compassion.’

 

‘We only collaborate lovingly, willingly and joyfully in the plan of God to be one in fraternal love. We are ‘Bandhu’ to each other, for Christ is the ‘Bindhu’. He is our elder brother sharing in our flesh and blood. He does not carry any instrument of death but comes with love, forgiveness, peace and joy to yield true fraternity and solidarity. He desires us to spread that love to all brothers and sisters irrespective of boundaries,’ said Bishop Dr Peter Paul Saldnaha.

 

The bishop concluded his message with the call of Pope Francis, ‘To Dream as a single human family, as fellow travelers sharing the same flesh, as children of the same earth which is our common home, each of us bringing the richness of his or her beliefs and convictions, each of us with his or her own voice, brothers and sisters all.’

 

The bishop also wished all the guests with New Year blessings and expressed his gratitude for their gracious presence.

 

Dr John D’Silva, secretary of diocesan pastoral council compered the programme. Fr Dr Joseph Martis, secretary, diocesan council of clergies welcomed the gathering. Fr Dr J B Saldanha, diocesan PRO proposed the vote of thanks.

 

Pastor Hubert M Watson, principal of Karnataka Theological College, Balmata led the opening prayer.

 

Fr Maxim L Noronha, diocesan vicar general said the grace before the meals.

 

CSI choir group members from the city filled the gathering with melodious Christmas carols.

 

 

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