Saturday, November 2, 2013

Christ's light overcomes darkness

"Christ is the Light," said Fr. Varghese.
"So, too, should we be."
As Hindu neighbors prepared to celebrate the ancient feast of Deepavali, Holy Family Mission celebrated All Saints Day and the light of Christ. Their First Friday celebration was "something beautiful," said Fr. Varghese, who gathered youth of his mission to help cut plantain trunks and assemble unique pillars for clay oil lamps for Friday, November 1, 2013. 

"No electrical bulb will burn today in the church," said Father, "and outside -- only oil lamps."

This is the first All Saints Day celebrated with the new
stage the people hand-built this past April through May. 

The pillars of lights are plantain trunks pierced by wire 
holders containing mud oil lamps.
Deepavali, also known as Diwali, is a traditional Hindu feast in this 98% Hindu nation. Christianity arrived in India in the First Century AD, with St. Thomas the Apostle. However, many faithful across India are converts from Hinduism, and the clay lamps associated with Diwali are deeply-rooted in their heritage. At Holy Family Mission, those lamps burn to symbolize Christ's light.

Deepavali is a "feast of light," explained Fr. Varghese. "Christ is the light. So, too, should we be." That focus is particularly good to recall on All Saints Day, as Christians thank God for and commemorate those who best spread Christ's light on Earth.

Fr. Varghese preached about the theme of the
"lamp." Every follower of Christ must light
the darkness.

The theme for Holy Family Mission's Friday benediction service, the "songs, preaching, Word of God, everything," was based on the lamp, said Fr. Varghese. He likened the gathered faithful to the ten wise virgins from Scripture, who had lamps trimmed and ready to welcome the groom for the wedding feast. 
Oil lamps and candles lit the benediction service on All Saints 
Day, as Hindu neighbors prepared to celebrate Diwali, a feast that
celebrates the triumph of good over evil.
The Holy See wrote a letter wishing Hindus a "Happy Deepavali.

"Regardless of our ethnic, cultural, religious and ideological differences, all of us belong to the one human family," wrote Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.

"In a spirit of friendship," the Cardinal offered "best wishes and cordial greetings as you celebrate Deepavali. May God, the source of all light and life, illumine your lives and deepen your happiness and peace.

"Security and peace in the local, national and international communities are largely determined by the quality of our human interaction," wrote Cardinal Tauran.

"Experience teaches us that, the deeper our human relationships, the more we are able to advance towards co-operation, peace-building, genuine solidarity and harmony."

For full text of the letter, click here.

By celebrating All Saints Day in a blaze of light on the heels of many weeks of crises, the people of Holy Family Mission prove that no political tensions, strikes, food shortages, floods or even the fevers of dysentery and malaria, will shift their focus from Christ, Who is their Light.

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