On the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti, the Patriarchal Seminary of Rachol held its annual Inter-Religious Meeting on October 2, 2023, at the seminary auditorium. The theme for the programme was ‘Caring Creation – Human Obligation’.
The day began with participants engaging in a stimulating discussion on how people of different faiths can come together as one family to safeguard our planet.
AT THE MEET
The Rector, Rev Dr Donato Rodrigues, gave the welcome address on the occasion.
People of different faiths were invited to take part in a ‘Unity Act’, wherein they dusted off a terrarium so that the beautiful depiction of creation inside could be clearly visible. This collaborative act signified that when all people, regardless of their faith affiliations, come together as one family, they can make a huge difference to the well-being of the environment.
Altaf Shah, representing the Islamic faith, said that the beautiful design that we see in creation is not a coincidence, but a purposeful and complex act of the Creator.
He emphasised that all religions speak the same message of having the sacred obligation of caring for creation and avoiding its destruction. Hence, when we heed the message of God given to us through His prophets, we unite with one another and also with our God.
Sandesh Prabhudesai, representing the Hindu community, recalled the unity act and said that we need to wipe out the dust that covers our minds so that we realize the Vedic wisdom, which speaks of Vasudhaiva Kuttumbakam i.e. the entire nature is one big family. Creation does not discriminate among humans while dispensing its resources.
He added that the Konkani language did not have a word for ‘hate’ because we, Goans, don’t believe in hate, but only love. Hence, he emphasized that with love, we need to live in harmony with the whole of creation.
The representative of the Catholic community, Valucio Rodrigues, drew inspiration from the Holy Bible and highlighted that humans are called by God to be responsible and caring stewards of creation.
Placing the life and mission of Jesus before the audience, Rodrigues focussed on the intimate relationship that exists between humans and nature. Hence, he emphasized that accountability and sustainability are of paramount importance in our quest for development.
A choral piece by Rosary Higher Secondary School, Navelim, exhorted everyone to celebrate the diversity in nature and remain united in protecting its immense value.
A thought-provoking tableau by the Rachol Seminarians challenged everyone to be responsible members in conserving creation for holistic well-being.
The participants took a solemn pledge to work as one family to safeguard the planet. The programme was compered by seminarians Elidio Noronha and Kennedy Mascarenhas, while seminarian Slater Alemao proposed the vote-of-thanks.