The Vatican has issued a message for the Hindu festival of Diwali or Deepavali, inviting and urging Christians and Hindus to join hands to foster harmony and healthy society, by going beyond tolerance and called them to respect and appreciate the diversity of cultures and customs within the community. The message was sent by the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, for the annual festival of lights, which is celebrated on October 18 or 19 in various parts of India, this year.

As reported by Vatican Radio, the message signed by Council President, His Eminence Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran and President and Secretary Bishop Miguel Angel Ayuso Guixot, read that “What is also needed is genuine respect and appreciation for the diversity of cultures and customs within our communities, which in turn contribute to the health and unity of society as a whole.”

The message also reminded the challenges faced by individuals to go beyond the confines of tolerance by showing respect to all individuals and communities, for everyone desires and deserves to be valued according to his or her innate dignity. The Vatican concluded the message by wishing all Indians a joyful Diwali.