Lucknow Diocese Celebrates Beatification of Pope John Paul II
By SAR NEWS
LUCKNOW, Uttar Pradesh (SAR NEWS) – The minuscule Christian community in Lucknow, the capital city of Uttar Pradesh, organised various programmes to celebrate the beatification of Pope John Paul II, May 1.
The Diocese of Lucknow, headed by Bishop Gerald J. Mathias, conducted programmes that aimed at disseminating the message of the late Pope.
A week before the beatification, an exhibition on the life and works of Blessed John Paul II was held in the vast cathedral grounds, which attracted hundreds of people who paid their respects to the revered prelate.
An inter-religious prayer service was the highlight of the week leading to the beatification May 1.
Heads of major religious faiths in Lucknow participated in the meeting: Pandit Hari Prasad Mishra (Hinduism), Maulana Khalid Rasheed Firangimal (Sunni Islam), Sardar Rajendra Singh Bagga (Sikhism), B.K. Radha Behen (Brahmakumaris), Shri Jagdish Gandhi (Bahai), Maulana Kalbe Sadiq (Shia Islam) and Shri Shailendra Jain (Jainism).
A special feature of the prayer service was that there were no speeches but only singing or recitation of religious texts and the brief expression of religious sentiments on John Paul II, on his teachings and his impact on the world scene and on his great and saintly person.
Bishop Mathias, under whose initiative the meeting was held, in his welcoming words spoke on the person of Pope John Paul II, his work for inter-religious peace and harmony, his defence of human rights, religious rights, rights of the unborn child and his denunciations of all that was inhuman, like abortion, religious intolerance and terrorism.
On May 1 evening, a Holy Mass was celebrated, presided over by Bishop Mathias in the presence of hundreds of faithful in honour of Blessed John Paul II, who was beatified by Pope Benedict XVI, a few hours earlier on the same day in the Vatican.