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» 02/14/2012
NEPAL
Nepal: boom in Valentine's Day cards inspired by Pope's message of peace
by Kalpit Parajuli
Valentine's Day becomes an opportunity to recall sentiment for loved ones and instill hope for the future. Manufacturers of gift cards stress the demand for gifts with phrases and slogans in praise of peace, dialogue and solidarity between people.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - Frightened by the climate of political and economic instability in the country, on St. Valentine’s day the Nepalese prefer postcards and greeting cards inspired by the Pope's message for the 45th World Day of Peace to the usual hearts and teddy bears.

Amrit Tuladhar, a producer of giftware and director of online shopping site muncha.com says that unlike in the past, this year people of all ages have visited the site, chosing cards with phrases about peace, dialogue and harmony as gifts to friends and acquaintances, many of whom live abroad. "Following the many requests - he says - about 50% of products manufactured by the company contain slogans inspired by the message of the Pope

Tuladhar believes the increase of migrant workers has increased the number of Internet users, by multiplying the sites, the types of online purchases, but also the emphasis on foreign countries. "For St. Valentine’s - he says - I had an average of 400 orders per day, mostly by and for people living abroad." He explains that in recent days several Nepalese employees in the Middle East have ordered postcards with slogans of peace and love for the Syrian people.

Ramesh Shrestha, employed by Christian bookstore Ekta Book House, says that for years the best selling book during Valentine's Day is the Bible. "In my shop - he says - customers often choose the Bible as sign of affection and love for their loved one." Josh B. Niraula, former director of Caritas Nepal, notes that "Valentine's Day is for Christians and non Christians a moment to remember with gratitude the people you love," he says. He adds that despite the sentimentality, the festival is an occasion to renew our faith in love.

In Nepal there are about 150 thousand Christians, with about 8 thousand Catholics. With the collapse of the Hindu monarchy in 2006 and the birth of a secular state, Christians have been granted greater freedom of worship. To promote tourism the government declared Christmas a national holiday, ensuring greater security around Christian religious buildings. This year, about 4 thousand people, of which at least half non-Christians, attended the midnight mass celebrated in the cathedral of Kathmandu.

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See also
06/02/2006 VATICAN
Pope: purpose of mission is to spread
12/16/2010 PEACE 2011
Fundamentalism and relativism, enemies of religious freedom and peace
by Bernardo Cervellera
12/11/2008 VATICAN – PEACE 2009
Global solidarity to fight poverty and build peace, says Pope
01/01/2006 VATICAN – WORLD PEACE DAY 2006
Pope tells UN and governments that the world needs to switch on its courage to build peace
01/04/2012 PAKISTAN – PEACE 2012
Faisalabad: Christians and Muslims back pope’s peace message
by Shafique Khokhar

Editor's choices
VATICAN
"Stop! I am asking you with all my heart. Stop!" says pope as he speaks out on the Middle East, Iraq and Ukraine He mentions children, victims of war, "from whom we take away the hope for a decent life," urging the parties to address "every diatribe with the tenacity of dialogue and negotiation and the power of reconciliation". As tomorrow marks 100 years since the outbreak of the First World War, "a day of mourning," we should learn the lessons of history. The Gospel makes us know the true Jesus, the living Jesus, who speaks to the heart and is a life changer as he was for Saint Francis of Assisi. "The joy of finding the treasure of the Kingdom of God comes through, can be seen. Christians cannot hide their faith."
IRAQ - VATICAN
Saddened by "the timidity of the civilised world," Baghdad patriarch's heart bleeding "for the innocent in Iraq, Syria and Gaza" "Forget us not!" says Mar Louis Sako in a message to Card Barbarin on the occasion of the march of solidarity with Iraqi Christians, held today in Lyon.
VATICAN
Pope: I am with the persecuted Christians of Mosul and the Middle East "May the God of peace inspire in all a genuine desire for dialogue and reconciliation. Violence is never defeated with violence. Violence is defeated with peace." At the Sunday Angelus Francis comments on the parable of the wheat and the weeds. God is "patient" He knows "the same weeds in the end, may become good wheat". But "at the time of the harvest, that is, of judgment, the reapers will execute the order of the master separating the weeds to be burned".

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pp. 176
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