The Catholic bishops of India have called on compatriots to foster truth, integrity, justice and peace as they celebrate Diwali, the festival of lights. People in southern India celebrate the festival as Deepawali (row of lamps) on November 6 and rest of the country the following day.

As reported by, the message signed by conference secretary general Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas read that, “Diwali symbolizes the victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance. Towns and country sides will be decorated with colorful lively lamps (diyas) and rangolies (color patterns). Amidst the joys and sounds of the celebration, Diwali continues to evoke deep spiritual meanings for us individually, for our country and for our world today.” The message notes that the world and India now urgently require “the light of love, the luminosity of justice, the torch of charity, the flame of truthfulness and the proper use of religion enlightened by true faith.” The bishop applauds the practice of exchange of gifts and the celebration of wealth as a gift of the divine. “Therefore, wealth and riches also are to be seen as opportunities to do good and to contribute to the welfare of fellow human beings. The exchange of gifts is not simply a material gesture but a manifestation of affection, love and relationships,” he adds.

The Church official also recalls Christ’s call to humans to let their light shine before men so that others can see their good works and glorify God the Father. “As we celebrate this great Indian festival, we pray for our country, our leaders and our people. May God bless us with prosperity, tranquility, peace and harmony,” he concludes.