By Jose Kalapura
Patna, Dec 22, 2018: An inter-religious Christmas celebration in Patna emphasized the need of peace and religious harmony at a time when violence is committed in the name of religion.
The Christmas Milan was organized on December 22 by Patna Peace Mission, an inter-religious group for harmony, Patna. Some 150 persons belonging to different religions attended the gathering.
The celebration included Christmas carols in Hindi and English, visit of Santa Claus and video presentation on the message of Christ.
Leaders of Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Sikh and Jain faiths joined the celebration and highlighted the key message of peace of Christmas in a context of increasing violence in the name of religion. Using violence in the name of religion is contradiction of religion, said Brahmakumari Jyoti Bahen.
Those indulging in violence and terrorism do not have any religion. They are enemies of humankind, said, Maulana Mahibbullah, Muslim cleric from Jamia Munemia, Patna City.
Islam actually means surrender to God. In today’s context of violence and terrorism in the name of religion, we must accept and appreciate other faiths and try to see the core values of love and brotherhood in all religions. Christ’s message was brotherhood of humanity and Fatherhood of one God, he noted.
Father Gyanprakash said celebrating Christmas means living the values of Christ such as love, brotherhood-sisterhood, toleration, and forgiving even one’s enemies. Christ’s birth is unique because it shows God’s loving presence as a human among humans. Humanity is one as we are all children of the same God, he added.
Sikh leader Sardar Kulwant Singh Saluja also stressed the oneness of God, though religions are different. The great teaching of Christ to love and serve humanity must be remembered at Christmas.
The General Secretary of Bihar Jain Sanghj, Mukesh Jain said that God is one though different names and paths are used to experience God. At the birth of Christ we are reminded of the greatest teaching of Christ, namely, love others as you love yourself, he said.
Earlier, Carmel Sister Benedicta of Patna Women’s College welcomed the gathering, while the Coordinator of Patna Peace Mission, Father Jose Kalapura conducted the program.
Six groups of carol singers reminded the audience of the festival of Christmas.
Noted among the carol groups were Masihi Satsang Mandali which sang Bhojpuri and Magahi carols, while students from Kurji Nursing College, Minor Seminary of Chakaram and of CJ convent, Digha, sang English and Hindi carols.