Dear Hindu Friends,

Happy and blessed Deepavali! We share your joy at this time of festival – may the light of the Diyas illuminate your hearts and homes, and those of your families, friends and communities in the year ahead!

On 15 May 2018, an interfaith conference was held in Rome which brought Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, Jain and Sikh religious leaders, academics and believers together. It was entitled: “Dharma and Logos: Dialogue and Cooperation in a Complex Age”; and concluded with a Joint Declaration by the delegates which included these statements:

We emphasize the importance and need to increase our commitment to common dialogue and mutual collaboration, in the spirit of love and truth, while remaining deeply rooted in our respective religious traditions to be able to effectively meet the challenges of our time and build a culture of encounter and dialogue.

When Pope Francis granted a special audience for the conference delegates on 16 May 2018, he said:

“I am most appreciative of the efforts of those who made possible this initiative… Dialogue and cooperation are essential at a time like our own, when complex and unprecedented factors have led to increased tensions and conflicts, accompanied by violence, on both a small and a large scale. It is a cause for thanksgiving to God when religious leaders actively foster a culture of encounter by offering an example of fruitful dialogue and by working together effectively in the service of life, human dignity and the care of creation.”

We thank God for your leaders who have worked tirelessly with us and those of other faiths to build bridges of trust and the ongoing renewal of our friendship here in Singapore.  Indeed, such cohesion and cooperation are integral in these challenging times when remaining “deeply rooted in our respective religious traditions” is increasingly becoming more difficult for faith believers.

The times we live in today are permeated, both in the real and virtual world, with fake news that seek to amplify stereotypes and prejudices, erode the dignity of the human person, disregard care for creation and the sanctity of human life and corrode the family entity as the foundation of society.

There is an urgent need for us to embrace our unity in religious diversity, “in the spirit of love and truth” and to collaborate with each other more than ever, in guiding and forming consciences that will courageously and faithfully uphold the moral values we believe in. We must continue to renew our belief in each other, knowing that ultimately, Love and Truth will prevail, and that the Transcendent Light will dispel the shadow of these dark times.

So it is with heartfelt hope and happiness that we celebrate with you this festival of the triumph of Light over darkness, Good over evil, Knowledge over ignorance, Love over fear.

Wishing you a very Happy Deepavali, Saal Mubarak!

Most Rev William Goh
Archbishop of Singapore

Msgr Philip Heng, SJ
(Interreligious Relations)

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