The Interfaith ‘Christmas Festival’ ” Kristu Mahotsav- 2024″ is a great initiative, which is not just about celebrating or exchanging gifts but is also about peace and harmony, with the motto “Include Everyone Exclude None”.
According to Justice C.T. Ravi Kumar, a Supreme Court judge and the chief guest of the event organized by the Chavara Cultural Centre, the festival emphasizes staying on Earth to find heaven here rather than searching elsewhere. The event was themed ‘Celebrating Diversity – Celebrating Bharat’ and took place at the Diocesan Community Centre, Ashok Place, Gol Dak Khana, Delhi.
The festival aimed at spreading joy among differently-abled children from Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, and Haryana. The festivities were also live-streamed on YouTube. Justice C.T. Ravi Kumar, after inaugurating the event, was joined by prominent figures like Archbishop Anil Couto of Delhi, Archbishop Kuriakose Bharanikulangara of Faridabad, and Dr. Father Martin Mallath CMI, General Counselor for Education and Media, who addressed the audience.
The main celebrants, including Father Varghese Vallikkat, Fr Norbert Herman SVD, shared their thoughts.
The festival showcased cultural programs in art, literature, and culture, bringing together Episcopal churches, various communities, and regional people in unity, mirroring the diversity in unity, akin to celebrating an Indian festival.
Special guests at the event included Lok Sabha Member Dr. Lorho S. Pfoze, Vice-Chairperson of the National Commission for Minorities K.K. Debu, and Sushil Goswami Ji Maharaj, National Coordinator of the Indian Multi-Faith Parliament. The event also witnessed the presence of Swami Chandra Dev Ji, Founder Chairman of the Global Sant Society, Sufi Ajmal Nizami, Trustee of the Nizamuddin Dargah, Rabbi Ezekiel Isaac Malekar, Chief of the Delhi Jewish community, and Acharya Yeshi Phuntsok from CIHTS (Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies) in Varanasi, Sri.Vivek Muniji Maharaj, Mrs. Carmel Tripathi, Mrs A Dhanalakshmi, Joint Secretary DST.
Speaking about Christmas, Archbishop Anil Couto said, “Christmas conveys a message of peace, joy, hope, and love. We are celebrating this Christmas with the message of love and unity, connecting hearts and making it a festival for India.”
Dr. Fr. Roby Kannanchira CMI, Director Chavara Cultural Centre Delhi, organizer of the program, said , ” Christmas is the commemoration of the birth of Jesus- the prince of love who included everyone and excluded none. The light of selfless love of Christ will expel the darkness of hatred and jealousy from this world. Celebrating Christmas with differently abled children heals the wounded humanity.”
Advocate Dr. K.C. George praised the differently-abled children, extending Christmas greetings and expressing the hope that the festival would contribute to their health and education. He described it as a festival of hearts, aiming to spread brotherhood and goodwill in the country.
Father Martin Mallath, CMI, Chairman of the Chavara Cultural Centre, commented the festival, calling it an initiative for interfaith dialogue, art, literature, and cultural discussions to promote peace and harmony in society. He likened it to the Christmas message of peace, joy, and hope, and anticipated that the festival would spread a positive message of unity among people in the country.