Bengaluru: Chief Minister, Siddaramaiah, affirmed that no one should have fear of insecurity in the State. Siddaramaiah was speaking at a Christmas get-together organized by the Archdiocese of Bengaluru on December 22, Thursday in Bengaluru. The Chief Minister who was earlier received by Archbishop Bernard Moras said Jesus came to this world for all mankind. He came to establish peace among all humanity.
The government of Karnataka stands for all people of the State. People belong to different religions, caste and creed. No matter what religion one belongs to. The government treats all equally whether Muslims, Hindus or Christians. The chief minister called for mutual understanding among people and urged all to live in amity and peace.
The 22nd chief minister of the State appealed to all present to follow the example of Jesus who stood for the welfare of humanity. He came to love and serve the poor representing God. Lauding the Archbishop, the CM said he makes efforts to bring peace and harmony in the society like Jesus. The job of the government is to look after the welfare of the people without slightest discrimination against any community. The Congress government has an established system by which each person is considered important, no matter, he belongs to a minority group, what religion or which political party. Siddaramaiah who also cut a cake on the occasion repeatedly assured all not to have fear of insecurity in the minds of any person or any minority community. The chief minister greeted all present Merry Christmas and conveyed greetings for the New Year.
Earlier, Archbishop Bernard Moras welcomed the chief minister, Siddaramaiah, Ministers Roshan Baig, K J George and various other dignitaries including police officers, MLA and MLC besides others. In his welcome speech the Archbishop said it was his singular privilege to welcome all to the Christmas Get together. “We are immensely happy and greatly honoured to have all of you at this function. Your presence with us this evening has certainly doubled our joy, and made our Christmas Function a memorable one.
Briefly touching upon the meaning of Christmas, Archbishop Moras said, Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, God's only begotten Son, who is the Saviour of the world. He came into this world to pay the price for everyone’s sins. Jesus lived, died and rose, not for any particular clan or a specific religious sect, but for the whole humanity. Therefore, the celebration of his birth has a universal dimension and calls for everyone’s participation in celebrating it with great jubilation. This is precisely why that the Archdiocese of Bangalore has been organizing this programme every year to give a true meaning of Christmas and to make it a common celebration.
Dr Moras said he was indeed overwhelmed to see so many people who have graciously responded to the loving invitation and were present to partake in the common celebration. ‘We do appreciate your kind presence and thank you very much for taking time out of your busy schedule to be with us.’
Archbishop said he was indeed very happy to have Siddaramiah, Chief Minister of Karnataka; K.J. George, Minister for Urban Development, and the other distinguished Guests of Honour from the State Govt., Political Parties, Administrative Sectors, Educational Institutions, and Inter-Religious Groups. On behalf of the entire Archdiocese of Bangalore, ‘may I accord a very warm welcome to all of you.’
Dr Moras, president of Karnataka Region, Catholic Bishops’ Council, further said an occasion like this invites all to know the true meaning of Christmas, which is nothing but the Celebration of God’s love. St. John, the Disciple of Jesus Christ says, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." (John 3:16-17). Thus, the true meaning of Christmas is the celebration of this incredible act of God’s love!
Christmas reminds us of God becoming a human being in the Person of Jesus Christ. By celebrating Christ’s birth, we celebrate God’s eternal love, peace, compassion and joy. We celebrate His birth by worshipping Him, greeting one another, giving each other gifts, and reaching out his love to the poor and the less fortunate.
Christmas also invites us to live a life of spiritual aspiration, purity and devotion, and thus make Christ-spirit takes its birth within our hearts. It is the real Christmas when the Divine element begins to express itself in our hearts and the divine light is lit, in order to expel the darkness of hatred, vengeance, animosity and selfishness.
Christmas also is a season of great joy. His birth brought great joy to the world. Shepherds, wise men, and angels all shared in the excitement of knowing about this great event. They knew this was no ordinary baby. The prophets had told of His coming hundreds of years before. The star stopped over Bethlehem just to mark the way for those who were looking for this special child. True joy can be expressed only when it is shared. It is said that Joy shared is joy doubled. And therefore let us make others happy by our simple words and deeds.
The Archdiocese of Bangalore through its various developmental activities is trying to translate the message of Jesus Christ into actions. Recently, we have undertaken a number of programmes for the uplift of women, the differently-abled, the migrants and for the other socially and economically weaker sections in the six districts of Karnataka. We have undertaken a special programme by giving financial and material help to the poor in the Archdiocese.
The Archdiocese of Bangalore is spear-heading its services for the Differently-Abled People and has undertaken a numerous projects for their well-being. We appeal to the Govt. to help us empower them and make them self-reliant, especially to pave the way for their education and employment.
While thanking the State and the Central Governments for the initiatives they have taken for the betterment of the Christian minority, we say that lot more can be done for them if the privileges and benefits that are given to the major communities are also given to everyone equally. We hope that our rights are respected and our concerns are taken note of and answered positively.
Archbishop concluded his speech with this prayer:
Light of Bethlehem: burn brightly in our hearts this Christmas;
Light of Peace: heal the bitter wounds in our society; show us the path of forgiveness and love;
Light of Joy: fill our homes, city, state and country with happiness – cast out the darkness of conflict or worry;
Light of Comfort: strengthen the sick, the needy, prisoners and all those who cannot be with their dear ones on Christmas Day;
Light of Hope: guide our way forward as we begin a New Year;
Light of the World: teach us to love you more and more each day, and serve you joyfully;
Light of Bethlehem: shine in our lives this Christmas, and in the coming year – 2017 and always.
Archbishop wished all A Happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year. In his prayer of blessing, he said ‘May the choicest blessings of Jesus Christ be showered upon all of you, upon the people of Bangalore and our beloved Karnataka State, especially during this Christmas season and in the coming year.’
The programme included invocation and prayer dance by Fusco’s School, Christmas Carols (Kannada) by Holy Ghost Church, Christmas Tableau by St Rock’s School stdents, Cultural War Naga Dance by North East student, Christmas Carols by African students.
The baby Jesus was carried to the crib by Archbishop and accompanied by the chief minister and others.
Among others present were Msgr S Jayanathan V G, Msgr C Francis, V G and Fr Anthony Swamy, Chancellor and PRO of Archdiocese.
Fr Panneer Selvakumar, secretary to the Archbishop, proposed a vote of thanks.
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