Mangalore (Agenzia Fides) - A large gathering of young Catholics prayed, reflected and demonstrated for peace in Karnataka, the Indian state crossed by anti-Christian violence due to the presence of extremist movements and groups. As Fides learns, the march for peace which gathered more than 10,000 young Catholics from across the nation, yesterday, January 22, crossed the city of Mangalore at the end of the Assembly of the India Catholic Youth Movement, who thus wanted to launch a message of peace and harmony in the ethnic and religious diversity of the nation.
"India is a nation that welcomes diverse cultures and identities", remarked Fr. Asis Parichha, a priest of the Archdiocese of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar, in Orissa, among the participants in the march.
In the march there was Archbishop Bernard Moras, at the head of the city of Bangalore, capital of Karnataka state, who initiated the march, which started from Our Lady of the Rosary Cathedral. The march concluded the X National Youth Conference where young Catholics meet to exchange views on current issues thanks to the participation of ecclesial and civic leaders.
The 2017 edition was attended by some political leaders of Karnataka and also Catholic Judge Joseph Kurian, of the Supreme Court of India, guest of honor at the closing ceremony of the conference. The judge stressed the importance of defending "the rights and constitutional values that belong to every citizen of India". "We were born in this land and we, therefore, are Indians, then we are Catholic Christians. All Indians, irrespective of their beliefs, are custodians of constitutional rights and also have the duty to respect the Constitution", he said. Judge Kurian invited the youth to participate in nation-building "to establish the kingdom of God on earth", urging them to be "responsible citizens" and "promoters and protagonists of change".
Archbishop Bernard Moras reminded the young that "we have the fundamental right to profess our faith, and no one can deprive us", saying that "we must be united, to promote justice and defend Christian values". The Bishop of Mangalore, Aloysius Paul D'Souza, advised young people to follow the way of Jesus: "Bring the light of Christ in your area and make it shine with your life", he said.
The political representatives congratulated the young Catholics for the discipline they showed and thanked Christians for the high-quality training that they provide to young Indians in Catholic schools. "To serve God and serve the nation are complementary: young people use given talents to serve humanity", said Oscar Fernandes, a local politician. (PA-SD) (Agenzia Fides 23/01/2017)