Dear Hindu Friends,
The triumph of good over evil, light over darkness, which you commemorate in this Festival of Deepavali, is also an ideal which all humankind cherish; particularly in these troubling times of moral decay, social injustice and racial and religious intolerance.
All the more, it behoves us, as believers in truth and justice, to stand together to uphold and champion values that protect all that is good for society and the world, so that we can all live in peace and harmony.
In the words of Pope Francis, “Interreligious dialogue is a necessary condition for peace in the world.” Indeed, today, where the name of religion is sadly misused to justify indiscriminate killings of innocent victims, interreligious dialogue is all the more urgent and relevant.
We are fortunate that here in Singapore we are able to conduct our lives peaceably. But this is a privilege we do not take for granted.
Hence, in a variety of ways, our Hindu and Catholic leaders and interfaith practitioners have worked hard and supported each other, alongside our brothers and sisters of other faiths, during the year to build religious harmony and understanding.
The Harmony Games 2014, which our Hindu friends so successfully organised, is a concrete example of how we dialogue through activities that aim at forging deeper respect, friendship and solidarity between our communities.
As we take the baton from you for the Harmony Games 2015, which also coincides with the celebration of our country’s 50th year of independence, may we build on what you have already established and bring interreligious dialogue to a deeper and higher plane.
In particular, we hope that the Games will be an occasion for building strong family bonds, which is so tenuous in our individualistic society.
It is with this concern in mind that Pope Francis has convened a Synod on the Family to discuss how the family unit, which is the bedrock of society, can be preserved in the face of a society that is challenging the values and norms of the meaning of Family and marriage.
As I wish you, my Hindu sisters and brothers, a very Happy Deepavali and Saal Mubarak, I pray that our communities will continue to work more closely to seek ways to strengthen the eternal values of mutual respect, understanding and tolerance within our families, between our communities and extending to that of the larger family of Singapore.
Most Rev Msgr William Goh, D.D.
Archbishop of Singapore
Rev Msgr Philip Heng, S. J.
Vicar General (Interreligious Relations – ACCIRD)