03/21/2016, 14.15
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Nepali Hindu woman who celebrated Palm Sunday to become Catholic soon

by Christopher Sharma

Jyoti Shrestha participated in the Mass along with scores of Hindus and Buddhists. "In our religion, many suffer from discrimination, whilst in Christianity there is equality." For Apostolic Vicar Mgr Paul Simick, who led the liturgy, "We have to think whether we are ready to die for Jesus or not. If we are not ready to die for him, then we must at least be prepared to live for Jesus”.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) – I lived "all my life as a Hindu but perhaps now God chose me and called me to become Catholic. I am very happy and radiant for participating in Palm Sunday celebration for the first time. My son and I are attending the catechumenate and will soon become Catholics,” said Jyoti Shrestha, a Hindu woman who spoke to AsiaNews after she left Palm Sunday Mass, which was celebrated yesterday in Kathmandu with a large of crowd of faithful.

Mgr Paul Simick, apostolic vicar, led the liturgy. In his homily, he mentioned the challenge that awaits Christians during the Holy Week. "We have to think whether we are ready to die for Jesus or not. If we are not ready to die for him, then we must at least be prepared to live for Jesus, and reach out to everyone with his Good News."

"Our country,” the vicar explained, “suffers from several problems, which stem from discrimination and oppression. Yet the Kingdom of God is founded on equality, not discrimination. We all have to prepare our place in heaven by working to serve God’s mission and plan. The kingdoms of other faiths are markets for power and have material interests. Fighting for God's Kingdom instead means to sacrifice oneself for humanity, peace and equality."

For Shrestha too, the equality aspect in Christianity compared to other religions matters. "Sadly, many Hindus are still living under repression and discrimination, so the Good News and the teachings mentioned today by the apostolic vicar have great significance."

"All human beings are equal and have the grace of God. Therefore, there should be no more discrimination based on caste, ethnicity or religion,” said Mgr Simick in his address to the hundreds of Catholics who attended the Mass holding a palm branch and a Bible, and the scores of Hindus and Buddhists who followed the liturgy with curiosity.

Out of Nepal’s 29 million people, some 150,000 or 0.5 per cent are Christian; of these, 7,200 are Catholic.

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