Nepalese greet the new Pope Francis
Kathmandu - Mar 19, 2013 - With torchlight processions and prayer vigils across the country the Nepalese, Catholics, Protestants, Muslims and Buddhists thank and greet the new Pope Francis. For the occasion on 13 March the day of his election, many Christian families decorated their homes to celebrate and March 17 all the Catholic churches of the country celebrated a solemn mass in honor of the Pope. Functions that were also attended by non-Christians.
Ganesh Parajuli, a Catholic from Kathmandu says that "this is a historic event for the whole family. We lit candles and prayed together for Francis, and that by his example and his faith in God he will help our communities and give a message of hope to this nation hit by instability and social and political chaos. "
The period of the Vacant See, Conclave and the election of the new pope led many believers to renew their faith in God and to spread His message even among Hindus and Buddhists. Binod Gurung, head of the Nepal Catholic Society explains that "Catholics in Nepal have grown in confidence and are beginning to spread the Christian message in the country to help our people out of the atmosphere of pessimism and fatalism caused by seven years of institutional crisis."
According to Gurung, "the elections for the new constituent assembly will be an important test not only for politicians, but for the whole country and will determine if the new republic will pursue a secular state and religious freedom in the future. We ask the Pope to pray for Nepal and for our poor".
Engaged for decades in charitable and educational projects (including schools and universities), the Christian communities, Catholic and Protestant, have taken a leading role in the Nepalese society, especially in the poorest regions of the country. In recent years, thanks to greater religious freedom, the number of Christians has increased following the fall of the monarchy, which for centuries forbid any religion other than Hinduism. According to the census of 2011, Catholics and Protestants are about 1.5% of the population. In 2006 there were only 0.5%. In six years the Catholics increased from 4 thousand to 10 thousand.
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