Christians and Hindus: Promoting hope among families

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In his message for Diwali, Cardinal Tauran from the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue stresses the role that interreligious cooperation plays in “inspiring families to be schools of hope”, and says that we can “bring hope’s light to every corner of our world” together.

Diwali Day falls on 30th October 2016, this Sunday, which marks the Hindu New Year – the five day festival around this date celebrates the victory of light over darkness – look out for the fireworks in celebration! Catholics are encouraged to pray for their Hindu friends and family particularly at this time – find a prayer and some more information here, (leaflet number 3).

Full Text

“On behalf of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, we offer our best wishes as you celebrate Deepavali on 30 October 2016”, the text begins. “May your celebrations around the world deepen your familial bonds, and bring joy and peace to your homes and communities.

The health of society depends on our familial bonds and yet we know that today the very notion of family is being undermined by a climate that relativises its essential significance and value. So too, family life is often disrupted by harsh realities such as conflicts, poverty and migration, which have become all too commonplace throughout the world. There are, however, strong signs of renewed hope due to the witness of those who hold fervently to the enduring importance of marriage and family life for the wellbeing of each person and society as a whole. With this abiding respect for the family, and keenly aware of the global challenges daily confronting us, we wish to offer a reflection on how we, Christians and Hindus together, can promote hope in families, thus making our society ever more humane.

We know that the family is “humanity’s first school” and that parents are the “primary and principal” educators of their children. It is in the family that children, led by the noble example of their parents and elders, are formed in the values that help them develop into good and responsible human beings. Too often, however, the optimism and idealism of our youth are diminished by circumstances that affect families. It is especially important, therefore, that parents, together with the wider community, instil in their children a sense of hope by guiding them towards a better future and the pursuit of the good, even in the face of adversity.

Providing a formation and education in hope is thus a task of paramount importance for families, as it reflects the divine nature of mercy which embraces the disheartened and gives them purpose. Such an education in hope encourages the young themselves to reach out, in charity and service, to others in need, and so become a light for those in darkness.

Families, therefore, are meant to be a workshop of hope, where children learn from the example of their parents and family members, and experience the power of hope in strengthening human relationships, serving those most forgotten in society and overcoming the injustices of our day. St. John Paul II said that “the future of humanity passes by way of the family”. If humanity is to prosper and live in peace, then families must embrace this work of nurturing hope and encouraging their children to be heralds of hope to the world.

As Christians and Hindus, may we join all people of good will in supporting marriage and family life, and inspiring families to be schools of hope. May we bring hope’s light to every corner of our world, offering consolation and strength to all in need. We wish you all a joyful Deepavali!”