For the Apostolic vicar to Nepal, 2017 will be dedicated to strengthening the family
by Christopher Sharma

The apostolic vicar proposes to focus on family spirituality, making families "active in the Gospel." The Himalayan nation has many mixed couples and hundreds of conversions to Christianity. The 2016 Plenary of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences also focused on the family.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) – Mgr Paul Simick, apostolic vicar of Nepal, has announced that 2017 will be a year dedicated to the family and to stronger spirituality among Catholics.

For the prelate, the aim is to make families "active in the Gospel" and highlight the need for greater spirituality among Nepali families. "When the family is strong in faith,” he said, “we are stronger in announcing the Good News."

According to Mgr Simick, "in Nepal we have to take care of families in a special way because many Catholics have different experiences."

For instance, "dozens of Catholics are born into Hindu families,” which leads to the “sharing of cultures.”

Indeed, “Hundreds have converted to Christianity from other religions and many have a spouse from a different faith."

Given the large number of mixed marriages, "We have decided that 2017 will be the year of the family, during which we will help them rediscover God’s presence among family members."

The apostolic vicar noted that that the topic of the family is a key issue for all Asian Bishops' Conferences. In 2016 at the Plenary Assembly of the Federation of Bishops (in Sri Lanka), the bishops dealt with the challenges that the modern world poses to family ties.

Speaking to the faithful gathered in Kathmandu's Assumption Cathedral, Mgr Simick said, "May you experience the loving presence of Jesus in the joy and sorrows of your life."

Robin, a Catholic man married to a Hindu woman, was thrilled by the apostolic vicar’s appeal. Even though his wife practices a different religion, every day she goes along with him to the prayers. "Sometimes I feel God's grace upon me," she told AsiaNews.

Angel Tamang is in the reverse situation. She is Catholic and her husband is Hindu. For her, "To create the Kingdom of God, we must first create God’s family”.

“Mgr Simick’s initiative will be really useful,” she noted. “In my family, my two children were imbued with a love for Jesus. Despite his different faith, my husband is happy that our children are Catholic and he helps me raise them as children of God."