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    » 04/02/2013, 00.00

    NEPAL

    Dozens of baptisms in Nepal during Easter Vigil, including many Hindus

    Kalpit Parajuli

    Easter celebrations were held in various parishes across the country. Twenty catechumens were baptised after two years of preparation. "We were confused and lived in superstition. Now our life has a new meaning," a young Hindu said.

    Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - Nepal's small Catholic community marked Easter night with dozens of baptisms celebrated in various parishes across the country.

    Many of the catechumens were Hindus who had encountered the Catholic faith through contact with Catholic educational and charitable organisations and activities, which have expanded since the Hindu monarchy fell in 2008. They were baptised after at least two years during which they studied and learnt about the Christian faith.

    "God has given us the grace of his love," said one of the newly baptised, "and this process took more than two years of training in the Catholic faith and culture."

    "We were confused and our life revolved around the superstitions of Hindu traditions," he added, "but now we have given our lives a new meaning and shall serve society and the Church."

    "I'm happy to see faith grow among the newly baptised," said Bhim Rai, head of the catechists in the diocese of Kathmandu. "For two years, we have educated them and followed them step by step in their journey toward baptism."

    However, Rai points out that once baptised, many catechumens often return to their original religion for a variety of reasons: family pressures, poor understanding of Christian culture, or fear.

    "For us," he said, "numbers do not count, the quality of conversions does, which must be genuine and start from a real change in the person."

    According to the catechist, about 30 to 40 conversions take place each year. "The new generation," he explains, "shows a maturity of faith that is even greater than many people born into Christian families."

    This is mainly due to a favourable situation that has in recent years allowed Christians to worship freely, but also to the decline of Hindu religious values ​​and Maoist and Communist ideology. For decades, the latter has been for many young Nepalis a model of freedom.

    Christians began enjoying greater religious freedom when Nepal's Hindu monarchy was abolished in 2006, allowing many Catholics to come out of hiding and show their faith in public.

    Tired of political instability and excessive cosiness between political and Hindu religious leaders, many have come to consider the Bible as a fundamental document for their education. In fact, the US-based Bible for the World recently reported a boom in Bible sales in Nepal.

    According to the census of 2011, Catholics and Protestants represented about 1.5 per cent of the population. In 2006, they were only 0.5 per cent. In six years, Catholics increased from 4,000 to 10,000.

    Every Sunday, about 200 non-Catholics attend Mass in the cathedral.

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    See also

    07/10/2013 NEPAL
    Young Nepali Hindus becoming Catholic to stop discrimination
    More and more children and teenagers are converting to Catholicism "tired" of inequality and abuses by Hindus on the lower castes and the poor. Twenty young people attend catechism at Kathmandu's Assumption Cathedral. "I want to become Catholic to spread the message of God's equality," said 12-year-old Diko.

    23/05/2009 NEPAL
    Kathmandu, attack on Cathedral of the Assumption: two dead, dozens wounded
    The most famous Catholic building in Nepal is attacked. Hindu fundamentalists claim responsibility, the same group behind the assassination of a Catholic priest in 2007. This afternoon a parliamentary meeting to elect a new premier was scheduled to take place.

    22/02/2010 NEPAL
    No space for Christians and Muslims to bury their dead in Kathmandu
    Rapid unplanned urbanisation has led the government to give Hindus land earmarked for Christian, Muslim and Baha’i minorities, groups that do not cremate their dead. This is causing tensions between Hindus and other religious groups.

    18/04/2014 NEPAL
    Nepali Hindus and Buddhists also celebrating Easter
    Many activities are being organised in the mountain nation to celebrate the Christian holy day. A priest at Kathmandu Cathedral hopes "that all the inhabitants of the country can share the Easter message, and that Easter will soon become a festivity for all faiths and communities". Thousands of cards and e-messages are exchanged for the occasion.

    15/07/2008 NEPAL
    Inter-faith prayer to honour the memory of Father Prakash, Nepali martyr
    The leaders of the country’s main religions condemn the murder of the Catholic priest, the first martyr of the Nepali Church. They urge the faithful to follow the path laid down by the missionary, working for the poor and promoting a dialogue among religions.



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