10/03/2017, 15.58
NEPAL
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More than a hundred young Catholics and non-Catholics attend spiritual retreat during Hindu festival

by Christopher Sharma

The festival of Dashain is currently underway in the Himalayan nation. The number of people trying to join the retreat outstripped capacity. For the apostolic vicar to Nepal, the Church’s service to the community is reflected in those who decide to follow Jesus as the ideal of life.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) – Whilst Hindus celebrate the festival of Dashain, amid protests by animal rights activists opposed to ritual slaughter, more than 100 young Catholics and non-Catholics are taking part in a three-day spiritual retreat in Godavari, 30 km northwest of Kathmandu, until tomorrow.

The Church's service to society is "reflected in the interest shown by non-Catholics in joining our community,” said Mgr Paul Simick, apostolic vicar to Nepal. “Hundreds of young people visit our churches and follow Jesus as an ideal in their lives."

"We are happy to see this growing interest among young non-Catholics," noted Richard Rai, parish priest of the Assumption Cathedral.

Fears that few people would participate were dissipated quickly by the arrival of large numbers of applicants. "We were forced to turn away people because we could not handle more than a hundred."

"Initially, we were expecting 30-40 participants," said Fr Robin Rai, head of the pastoral centre. "At present, we have more than 100. We are adapting to numbers beyond our means. It is good news that so many people want to join our community and seek conversion."

The clergymen plans to repeat the event for those who could not attend this time.

Regina KC, a young woman who attended the retreat, said she was grateful to God for this opportunity. "We praise Jesus, read the Bible, sing the hymns, and speak to each other on how to reach other friends who are in need but do not know Jesus. I want to be a missionary who in every society spreads the need for Jesus to achieve peace, solidarity and respect."

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