Alleluia! St Aloysius College hosts ‘Christmas Celebration-The Feast of Giving’ to Promote Inter-Faith Harmony
Mangaluru: With an intention to promote Inter-Faith Harmony, St Aloysius College (Autonomous), Mangaluru hosted “Christmas Celebrations-The Feast of Giving ” on Monday, 17 December 2018 in Fr L F Rasquinha Auditorium (LCRI) from 4 pm onwards. This Inter-Faith Harmony programme is not just a message, it has to be adopted in our everyday life. Some holidays remind us of the values that unite humanity, and the annual Season of Christmas is one of them. Though the holiday has many interpretations, the actual meaning of Christmas is Sharing, Caring and Giving, to commemorate the Birth of Jesus Christ.
Christmas is a universal feast, and people of all religion, caste and creed celebrate is very joyously and merrily. Many faiths come together to celebrate Christmas for many reasons, but the common theme unites them all. In today’s complex world, the need to accommodate diversity and find common ground is as relevant as ever. The display of colorful lights and colorful Stars during Christmas has been designed to reflect “a highly inclusive, all-welcoming celebration of peace and harmony,” and that Christmas reminds us “to keep improving spiritually in this lifetime — through unity in Thought, Word and Deed, and also in ‘Sharing, Caring and Giving’!
The programme began with a prayer rendered by the College Choir, followed by reading religious quotes from Bible, Quran and Bhagavadgitha by students of three different faiths, supervised by Fr Felix Victor SJ. After a mesmerizing welcome dance, followed by a short skit depicting the origin of Birth of Jesus Christ, which enthralled the audience and received loud applaud. The welcome address was delivered by the programme coordinator Anup Denzil Veigas, from Department of English.
The celebration was inaugurated by placing baby Jesus Christ in the crib, by the dignitaries of the occasion, namely Dr GG Laxman Prabhu-Neurologist, KMC-Mangaluru; Fr Derick D’souza- Director, Divine Mercy Retreat Centre-Mangaluru, Hyderali- Assistant Professor, Govt First Grade College-Bantwal; Rev Dr Praveen Martis SJ- Principal, St Aloysius College, Mangaluru; and Anup Denzil Veigas-programme coordinator. In his address to the audience, Fr Derick D’souza briefing about Dharma said, ” Dharma is part of many religions or spiritual beliefs that began in India. It means the law of spiritual growth of believers. In Hinduism, dharma is the spiritual law for human beings. It is the way of goodness, truth and duty. Each age brings new responsibilities, so dharma will change over your lifetime. It is everyone’s dharma, to be honest, kind and religious, to do no harm to others and to be a good citizen. Following dharma fulfills the highest purpose on earth. When people follow dharma, they feel good about themselves, and life is most rewarding”.
“Dharma is not religion. God is beyond religion. Christmas is not a celebration of religion. We are celebrating about God. God didn’t divide the world, instead, he united it. It is we who are dividing the world and creating disharmony in the community. Christmas is a season to understand the real meaning of it, which is Sharing, Caring and Giving. This Christmas season let us all join together as one, irrespective of caste and creed, and unite ourselves to bring peace and harmony. We need to applaud St Aloysius College for their initiative in organizing this Inter-Faith Harmony programme to mark the Feast of Giving, in order to bring peace, love and harmony in the society ” added Fr D’Souza.
Hydar Ali speaking on the occasion said, “It gives me immense pleasure to come back and speak to you all since I was a faculty here a few years ago. We need to appreciate the service done by the Christian Community in the field of Education, Social Service, Helping Others, and the teachings of Human Values and Service Motive. Jesuit priests have done yeomen service to thousands of students who have passed out of this institution, and holding a great position in the nation and abroad. In Quran, Jesus name is mentioned 25 times, and Muslims consider Jesus as the highest Prophet. Quran also respects Mary aka Mariam. Quran also tells us to live united, and we should all worship One God These interfaith programmes will unite people of all religion, Do you now that Jasmine flowers are grown by Christians, sold by Muslims, and Jasmine flowers are offered to the temple y Hindus!”
“This is indeed a unique celebration initiated by St Aloysius College, in promoting Inter-Faith harmony. What is harmony? It is something which brings inner peace. It comes from within us. We should all work in unity to maintain peace and harmony in the eyes of God we are all equal and we should never incite communal riots and hatred among different faiths. Today this programme highlighting harmony during Christmas has brought us altogether irrespective of religions. So during this Christmas season let us spread the message to love another and maintain peace throughout. Let us follow the real meaning of Christmas, which is Sharing, Caring and Giving. As Christmas day approaches it calls upon us to stand against hate, jealousness, communal disharmony etc and spread the joy of Sharing, Caring and Giving” added Hyder Ali.
Dr GG Laxman Prabhu took the audience into a world of laughter through his hilarious speech, which was much of a fun Christmas speech, rather than a meaningful Christmas message, and was enjoyed by all. He said, “I feel blessed to be a Mangalorean, to share the joy and happiness with other Mangaloreans parents used to bring me to St Aloysius Institution, just to learn about the discipline, Manners and Characters this institution was offering to its students My daughter is a proud alumnus of this College. Those days getting Christmas cake was the most joyous thing to eat, but these days the cakes melt before they reach your mouth”. Giving two examples of two persons pertaining during Christmas time, Dr Prabhu said, “Two people taught me two things during Christmas- to perform your “DUTY” and be “CONTENTMENT”. It’s really a God’s blessing to celebrate this joyous season with you all”.
In His presidential address, Fr Praveen Martis SJ said, ” We should all live in harmony and peace, and never give a chance for hate and communal tensions. Let’s celebrate this Feast of Giving with peace and love, also Share and Give- that should be our motto Our three guests delivered really good messages during this joyous season Christmas is the spirit of giving without a thought of getting. It is happiness as we see joy in pthe eople. It is forgetting self and finding time for others. It is discarding the meaningless and stressing the true values.There’s nothing like bad things happening to a good person to bring out the spirit of giving in others. And there’s nothing like the Christmas holiday season to get people in the mood to be cheerful givers. So this season let’s share and give to others”.
The vote of thanks was proposed by Relston Lobo- President of Student Council, while the formal part of the programme was compered by Miss Rupal D’souza, and the cultural part was compered by Miss Smitha Fernandes and Joyston D’souza. And while we celebrate the meaningful Christmas of Sharing, Caring and Giving, let us also hope for peace and harmony- ending this report with the lyrics from the Song “Let there be peace on Earth” on Youtube below: