12/28/2015, 00.00
NEPAL
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Apostolic vicar to Nepal: May Christmas bring worldwide respect for minorities

by Christopher Sharma
Mgr Paul Simick celebrated Christmas Mass at the Cathedral of the Assumption in Kathmandu. Thousands of Catholics and others exchanged greetings across the country where Christmas has been a national holiday since 2007. “May this festival inspire all to implement the Constitution of Nepal for peaceful and prosperous Nepal strengthening the feelings of love and unity among all the Nepali people,” Nepal’s president said.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) – Thousands of Catholics and non-Catholics celebrated Christmas in Nepal, by attending Mass and visiting friends and relatives.

Mgr Paul Simick, apostolic vicar of Nepal, led the liturgy in Kathmandu’s Cathedral of the Assumption.

During his homily, he called on the government and the authorities to ensure respect for religious minorities and communities. He urged everyone to pray for peace in Nepal and other conflict areas in the world.

"We pray that government authorities and senior officials ensure respect and dignity for all minority groups in the country,” Mgr Simick said. “Let their marginal voice and religious faith be heard on all that matters".

"Peace prevails when we respect one another,” he explained. “No one’s voice should be suppressed and there should be no prejudice. We pray for peace and a dignified life."

Nepali Catholics also prayed for an end to the Indian embargo on gas and other fuels. "Dialogue is the only way to solve problems,” the apostolic vicar said. “So let us sit down and talk with protest leaders to find a solution to the current crisis."

After the Mass, thousands of people took part in the celebrations across the country. People exchanged greetings and sang at Kathmandu’s United World Trade Centre.

"Even if I am not Christian I love to celebrate Christmas, because my wife and children like it," Dinesh Thapa told AsiaNews. Although the earthquake ruined the Hindu festival of Dashain, "with this celebration we share joy with Christians. We have a deep respect for Christians in Nepal and encourage them to celebrate their festivity."

Christmas has been celebrated in the country since 2007 when the government added it to the list of national holidays.

President Bidhya Devi Bhandari also extended her greetings to Christians, both at home and abroad.

“May this festival inspire all to implement the Constitution of Nepal for peaceful and prosperous Nepal strengthening the feelings of love and unity among all the Nepali people”, she said in a statement.​

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