» 12/20/2012, 00.00
Christmas in Nepal: for the first time there are no threats of attacks
Hundreds of people, including many non-Christians, are expected at the celebrations in the capital's cathedral. The Catholic community will also celebrate 24 new members. Crèches, Christmas trees and more will decorate church yards.
Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - Catholic churches in Nepal are
busy with Christmas preparations. This year, the festivity will be celebrated
without the threat of Hindu fundamentalist groups. Sources told AsiaNews that hundreds of people are
expected at Kathmandu's Assumption Cathedral, including Hindus, Buddhists and
other non-Christians. For the past few years, people of other faiths have
participated in the celebrations as well as other initiatives in various
Since the fall of the Hindu monarchy in 2006, the
government has made Christmas a national holiday to boost tourism. This has
enabled Christians to show their sacred images and decorations in stores and
outside churches and homes. At present, Catholics number 10,000, 4,000 more
than in 2006 when a secular state was declared.
Greater religious freedom has allowed more Catholics
to show their faith in public. Churches are showing their Christmas schedule,
dressing up their yards with crèches, trees and garlands where once stood armoured
Greater visibility has also attracted non-Catholics in
greater numbers. During Christmas Mass, Kathmandu's small Catholic community
will celebrate 24 new baptised members, young and old, mostly Hindus.
Fr Robin Rai, the cathedral's parish priest, called on
the faithful to bear witness to the real meaning of the birth of Jesus for
mankind. "I ask everyone to come to confession to strengthen your faith so that
you may spread the Christian message to the whole country," he said.
In recent years, Nepal was the scene of various
attacks, including murders, against religious minorities, usually by Hindu
extremists. The worst occurred on 23 May 2009 in the Catholic cathedral,
which left two people dead and 13 wounded.
Since 2011, the debate over the enforcement of
anti-conversion laws proposed by conservative parties has also come into the
picture. However, changes to the penal code have been stopped in
parliament by the need to complete the drafting of the new constitution.
27/12/2016 13:58:00 NEPAL
Christmas: under minority pressures, government approves holiday
Thousands took part in the celebrations. The president and the prime minister issue messages of peace and prosperity. Former King Gyanendra joined in the festivity.
For Kathmandu bishop, a country that welcomes Christ is a fairer country
Christian leaders celebrated Christmas with a prayer service. Political leaders and members of civil society groups were present at the event. Nepal's prime minister pledges respect for freedom of worship and protection for minorities in the new constitution. For the apostolic vicar, "Christ was Christ was born [. . .] to limit the differences among human beings [. . .] Likewise, we must reject violence, discrimination and terrorism".
Jesus' birth celebrated by Nepali Christians, Hindus and Buddhists
Thousands participate in Midnight Mass in Kathmandu's cathedral, including hundreds of Hindus and Buddhists. In many villages, local authorities join public processions, provide security and musical bands.
Christmas: Nepalis discover the joy of giving to the poor
For the past two years, the Christian festivity has been on the national calendar. This year, a number of initiatives in favour of the poor were organised. In the capital, the UN puts on a crafts fair to help marginalised women.
Christmas becoming a national holiday in the former Hindu kingdom
Parliament adds four more statutory holidays to the calendar in recognition of the country’s religious and ethnic minorities. Muslims, Buddhists and others react to the decision with satisfaction. Some see it as a first step.
EGYPT – LEBANON
Muslims and Christians meet in Cairo for Jerusalem, 'the cause of causes'
A conference was held on 16-17 January at al-Azhar. Many prominent figures from Lebanon took part, including the Maronite Patriarch Bechara Al-Rahi. The Arab world is divided between "complicit passivity" and "noisy but ineffective speeches". For a former Lebanese premier, coordinated actions are needed to ensure greater efficacy on behalf of Jerusalem’s "pluralistic identity " and "religious freedom". Card Al-Rahi called for joint prayers, Islamic-Christian interfaith solidarity in the Arab world, and support for the Palestinians.
15/01/2018 LEBANON - SYRIA
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