Cardinal Celebrates Mass for Pagan Hindu Festival

Cardinal Celebrates Mass for Pagan Hindu Festival

[Ab insídiis diáboli, líbera nos, Dómine/From the snares of the devil, deliver us, O Lord]

Modernist Cardinal Maurice Piat of Port Louis, Mauritius, celebrated a “Mass on the occasion of the feast of Diwali” on October 18. Diwali is a Hindu festival dedicated to two gods, Ganesha and Lakshmi who according to Scripture and Catholic doctrine must be considered demons or devils.

According to DefiMedia, the Mauritian Prime Minister attended at the Mass. Piat asked in his homily to respect “different cultures and religions”.

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3 comments on “Cardinal Celebrates Mass for Pagan Hindu Festival

  1. KW gets the mark of Shiva:

    The kisser:

    The buddha of Assisi, on KW’s watch:

    Cardinal Dias lights the lamp to a Hindu god:

    … libera nos a malo.

  2. Trump celebrates Diwali at White House, hails contributions of Indian-Americans

    US President Donald Trump has celebrated his first Diwali at the White House during which he hailed the incredible contributions of the Indian-American community and said he valued his very strong relationship with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

    [I know – this is different, but interesting. Do Christian Indians observe DIwali, too?]

    • [Emphatically, yes![

      Catholics join Hindus to celebrate Diwali In India, annual ‘festival of lights’ reaches across the faith spectrum Catholics join Hindus to celebrate Diwali

      A woman lights an earthen lamp in Amritsar, India on the eve of the Indian festival of Diwali. Despite being a Hindu festival, Indians of all faiths often join in the celebrations.

      Ritu Sharma, New Delhi
      India November 11, 2015

      Swatijyoti Lakra is Catholic but the Hindu festival of Diwali has always been special to her.

      Every year, she keeps busy shopping for traditional earthen lamps, fancy lights and sweets for the festival.

      Being a Catholic does not deter Lakra from celebrating the biggest Hindu festival in India, which this year begins on Nov. 11 and ends on Nov. 15.

      “The whole country is in a celebration mood, so why should we not be a part of the festivities? The festival brings happiness, joy and prosperity for everyone,” Lakra, a New Delhi resident, told

      The feast of Diwali, or Deepavali, also known as the “festival of lights,” is celebrated every year in October or November with the dates being determined by the Hindu lunar calendar.

      Hindus illuminate their homes with earthen oil lamps and colorful electric bulbs, recalling stories from their scriptures of the victory of good over evil and commemorating it as a victory of light over darkness.

      The annual festival of lights, which Hindus in most parts of the world celebrate, dates to the Vedic period, around 2,000 years before the birth of Christ.

      As part of the celebration, gifts and sweets are exchanged among relatives and neighbors. Children set off noisy fireworks. It is believed that the light and sounds of fireworks drive away evil spirits.

      Days prior to Diwali, people start cleaning or renovating their homes in the belief that Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth, likes to visit a clean and well-lit house during this time.

      Lakra says that unlike her Hindu neighbors who worship Lakshmi during this festival, her family visits the parish church, lights candles and prays to Jesus on Diwali.

      Traditional earthen lamps are lit outside a house in New Delhi on Diwali.

      Promoting common good, respecting the environment

      For A. Chinnapan, secretary of the All India Catholic Union, the festival is an occasion for promoting peace and harmony among different religious communities.

      “People forget their religious barriers and celebrate the festival together. There is happiness everywhere,” he said.

      The Vatican too, as it does every year, extended its greetings to Hindus around the world this Diwali. This year it urged Hindus to work with Christians for sustainable development.

      “If peace is to prevail in the world, we must, together and as individuals, consciously give ourselves to protecting nature, defending the poor, and building networks of respect and fraternity,” Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, said in the message.

      “May your celebrations across the globe lead you to an experience of happiness and harmony in your families and communities,” he said.

      Jesus, the “light of the world” feast

      Like every year, V.S. Bara is jubilant during the festival.

      “There is so much activity everywhere. Markets are full of festival stuff and everyone is busy preparing for the festival. There is no way one can be left out in so much fun and frolic,” Bara, a Catholic, told

      With the exception of worshipping Lakshmi, Bara and his family do the other cultural things required for the festival.

      “There is no harm in lighting the house, distributing sweets and meeting people. You cannot shut yourself in when your whole neighborhood is merrymaking,” he said.

      Priests and laypeople also light candles in front of the archbishop’s residence within the Sacred Heart Cathedral premises in New Delhi.

      “There is no special Mass on the festival day but we do light candles,” Father Savari Muthu, spokesman for Delhi Archdiocese, told

      Father Wilfred D’Souza, parish priest of Mother of Perpetual Succor Church in East Delhi, told that his parish celebrates the festival as “Jesus, the light of the world” feast.

      “We light all the candles that are donated in the church around the year on the festival. Then we recite the rosary followed by Mass. We also distribute sweets which parishioners take along with them,” he said.

      Father D’Souza said they illuminate the whole church with candles and do not use electric lights on this festival night. “We illuminate the altar with traditional earthen oil lamps,” he added.

      The priest said that light is a very important part of Christianity. “It has so much significance for us as we light candles in all our ceremonies, including baptism, Communion and Easter,” he said.

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