ASIA/PAKISTAN - Christmas, an opportunity to share the love of God and promote peace and interreligious harmony

Friday, 21 December 2018 christmas   peace   dialogue   islam   religious minorities  

Hyderabad (Agenzia Fides) - The Christian faithful in Pakistan take the opportunity of Christmas to share the feelings of joy and peace with the Muslim communities. "The Church in Pakistan is fully committed to promoting social and interreligious harmony", explains to Agenzia Fides Bishop Samson Shukardin, who is at the head of the Catholic diocese of Hyderabad.
"It is our mission to reach out to our neighbors to share the love of God, the love that Christ, born in this world, gives us". The birth of Jesus brings love, joy, hope and peace. It is up to us to bring this message of love, joy, hope and peace to every human being during this Christmas season", continues the Bishop.
Bishop Shukardin observes: "At Christmas, faithful Muslims and Hindus actively participate in the Christian celebrations and welcome invitations addressed to them. I am happy to see many non-Christians that take the initiative and celebrate Christmas with their Christian neighbors. This is a positive sign of the promotion of humanity, peace and brotherhood". The bishop informs: "This week I participated in three Christmas celebration programs with Muslims and Hindus who attended the event".
The National Commission for Interreligious Dialogue and Ecumenism (NCIDE) of Catholic Bishops organized a sports festival on the occasion of Christmas and adolescents belonging to various religious communities actively participated. Archbishop Sebastian Francis Shaw of Lahore urged: "Let us take care of each other and let us always work to remain united". The Commission organized, in collaboration with some Islamic leaders, a meeting for students of Catholic and Islamic schools to promote harmony and unity among children of different religions.
"Be ambassadors of peace, caring for one's neighbor and creation, which is a gift from God. Learn to promote harmony, peace and mutual acceptance", said Fr. Francis Nadeem OFM Cap addressing those present and inviting them to take St. Francis of Assisi as an example.
Archbishop Shaw participated in a Christmas feast organized by the Muslim organization "Bait-ul-Quran" in Lahore and said: "I thank you and welcome this initiative. When I was young there was no religious discrimination: this has grown in recent years: God places in our hearts a message of mercy, peace, love, unity and harmony, as the angels said at the birth of Jesus, it is our mission to promote peace on earth".
Over the past few days, over 150 Christian, Hindu and Muslim leaders gathered in the "Peace Center" in Lahore for an interreligious meeting organized by the Dominican, Fr. James Channan, who declared: "Peace is the gift of God-with us who comes into the world, we Christians are called to be the hands, the arms, the eyes of Christ here in Pakistan and in the whole world. We are in Pakistan to build peace and harmony". (AG-PA) (Agenzia Fides, 21/12/2018)