Hindus in prayer Hindus in prayer  (©WONG SZE FEI -

Vatican's Diwali message: May Christians and Hindus work together for peace

The Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue sends well-wishes to people celebrating the feast of Deepavali, and invites Christians and Hindus to work together for peace in a divided world.

By Joseph Tulloch

The Vatican’s Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue released a message on Monday ahead of the Hindu feast of Deepavali (or Diwali), which this year will be celebrated on October 24.

The letter extends “joyous greetings” to all Hindus, and urges Christians and Hindus alike to strive for “conviviality and co-responsibility.”

The feast

The feast of Deepavali, which in Sanskrit means “row of oil lamps”, celebrates the victory of truth over falsehood, light over darkness, and good over evil. It is one of the most important Hindu feast days, and is celebrated with lamps, fireworks, prayers and large family meals.

The Vatican’s message, signed by Cardinal Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot and Msgr. Indunil Janakaratne Kodithuwakku Kankanamalage, respectively Prefect and Secretary of the Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue, sends “joyous greetings and best wishes” to all Hindus.

“May this festival of lights give you the grace and happiness to enkindle,” it reads, “besides yours, the lives of everyone in your families, communities and in the larger society.”

Rising tensions

The message goes on to note the troubling increase in “instances of tensions, conflicts and violence in different parts of the world on the basis of religious, cultural, ethnic, racial and linguistic identities and supremacies.”

These problems, the document adds, are often “fuelled by competitive, populist and expansionist politics … and blatant misuse of social media”, and are “a cause of concern to all of us, since they grossly affect the fraternal and peaceful co-existence in society.”


Given these problems, the Vatican’s message stresses, the way forward is “conviviality”, defined as “the ability to live in the midst of others with their individualities, diversities and differences in a spirit of respect, love and trust.”

Conviviality can be built “through personal encounters and dialogue, in mutual listening and learning”, and leads to “co-responsibility”, or the recognition of “the transcendental dignity of every human person and his or her legitimate rights.”

The document ends with an appeal to readers of all religions.

“May we, Christians and Hindus, joining hands with those of all other religious traditions and people of good will, promote … the spirit of conviviality and co-responsibility to transform this world into a secure home for everyone to live in with peace and joy!”

And it adds: “Wishing you all a Happy Deepavali!”

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17 October 2022, 15:18