Dear Hindu friends,

Happy and blessed Deepavali! We share your joy as you celebrate this holy festival – may the light of the diyas illuminate your hearts and homes, and those of your communities, friends and loved ones!

As we approach the end of 2020, we are all too familiar with the unprecedented circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic. Although it has brought about anxiety, uncertainty and a radical change of lifestyle for all of us, along with much suffering and sickness, yet in this darkness, your communities have been beacons of faith and hope, burning as brightly as the diyas in your midst.

Although you could not worship in your temples as per normal, and this Deepavali you are unable to hold your much-anticipated rich and colourful bazaars and cultural activities, yet you overcame these challenges with creativity and joy, taking them online so that all these festivities can be enjoyed safely and comfortably by everyone at home.

We are also greatly edified by and indebted to the many members of the Hindu community who worked so generously and tirelessly on the frontlines of healthcare, essential services and security, and our hearts go out with compassion and prayer to the members of your community who have suffered loss of loved ones, livelihoods and well-being during this difficult time.

Pope Francis, in his new document called Fratelli tutti or “Brothers all” released on 3 October 2020, emphasised that now, more than ever, different religions need to support one another in fraternity and solidarity to overcome the crises of our times. “Dialogue between the followers of different religions does not take place simply for the sake of diplomacy, consideration or tolerance. In the words of the Bishops of India, ‘the goal of dialogue is to establish friendship, peace and harmony, and to share spiritual and moral values and experiences in a spirit of truth and love’.” Indeed, in writing the document, he was particularly inspired by Mahatma Gandhi, among others.

We are very grateful that you have always engaged in heartfelt, authentic and open dialogue with the Catholic and other religious communities here in Singapore and we are therefore confident that together, in fraternity and solidarity, all of us will triumph over the circumstances of this pandemic in the same way that light triumphs over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, and love over fear – precisely what this festival of lights celebrates!

So, on behalf of the Catholic Archdiocese of Singapore, we wish you once again a happy and joyous Deepavali, Saal Mubarak!

Most Rev. William Goh

Archbishop of Singapore

Msgr John Paul Tan, OFM

Vicar-General (Interreligious Relations)

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